Tag Archives: pumpkin recipe

Preserving Your Pumpkin Harvest

by Rachel Paxton

By the middle of September you already have a pretty good idea which pumpkin is going to be your prize winner this year. The big one with the round smooth face will make a perfect jack-o- lantern come October, as will the tall skinny one that seems to call out “Pick me!” as you gaze out over this year’s pumpkin patch with childlike anticipation.

So after you’ve picked the best pumpkins to carve and display, what do you do with the rest of them? I’ve discovered some interesting and unique ways to use up every last bit of your pumpkin crop this year.

Everyone knows you can toast and eat pumpkin seeds, but did you know you can also sprout them? First soak them by placing them in a glass jar with just enough tepid water to cover them. Cover the jar with cheesecloth, holding the cheesecloth in place with a rubberband at the neck of the jar. Let the seeds set in the water overnight to make sure they’re nice and soft. The next morning, drain the water from the jar by gently turning the jar upside down until all of the moisture is gone. Place the jar out of the light (in a closet or cabinet). The temperature should remain at about 70 degrees. Rinse the seeds in the jar 4 to 6 times a day. After 3 days you should have approximately 1/4-inch sprouts. Rinse them once more and set the jar in a sunny window for about a day until the sprouts grow tiny leaves. Eat them in salads, sandwiches, or add them to soups and casseroles. They’re very healthy and easy to make!

You can also make flour out of fresh pumpkin. Cut the raw pumpkin into chunks, cut off the skin the best you can and dry in the oven. Grind the dried pumpkin in the blender or a food mill. Use pumpkin flour as a partial substitute for all-purpose flour in your favorite breads and other baked goods. Store in an airtight container.

Last but not least, why wait to enjoy the fruits of your labor? Try these easy quick bread recipes. Quick breads are easy to prepare because you don’t have to mess around with yeast and waiting for the dough to rise. You just mix a few ingredients together in a bowl, pour into a loaf pan, and bake! It’s really that easy.

Cranberry Pumpkin Bread

2 eggs, beaten slightly
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup cooked pumpkin
2 1/4 cups flour
1 cup chopped cranberries
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine eggs, sugar, vegetable oil, and pumpkin, mixing well. Combine flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the batter and add the pumpkin. Stir in cranberries. Spoon batter into 2 greased and floured loaf pans. Bake for 1 hour.

Autumn Bread

2/3 cup shortening
3 cups sugar
4 eggs, well beaten
1 1/4 cups cooked pumpkin
2/3 cup water
3 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
Chopped nuts (optional)

Mix all ingredients together and pour into two greased loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 1 hour.

Originally published at Suite 101. Rachel Paxton is a freelance writer and mom who is the author of What’s for Dinner?, an e-cookbook containing more than 250 quick easy dinner ideas. For recipes, tips to organize your home, home decorating, crafts, holiday hints, and more, visit Creative Homemaking atCreative Homemaking

How to Make Pumpkin Puree

by Janice Faulk Duplantis

Each year, eighty percent of the pumpkins grown in the USA are harvested in October. Commercially canned puree is probably the most familiar edible form of this popular autumn produce, however the mild, slightly sweet flesh of fresh pumpkin makes and excellent dish when baked, boiled, sauteed, steamed or microwaved. The pumpkin seeds, as well, may be toasted to create a marvelously tasty and healthy snack.

This article will discuss the process of selecting the proper cooking pumpkin and the technique for preparing homemade pumpkin puree.

Selecting and Storing Fresh Pumpkins…

For cooking, select the small ‘pie’ types, often called sugar, cheese or milk pumpkins ‘ the ‘jack-‘o-lantern’ pumpkins are not as sweet and the flesh is tough and stringy. (If uncertain, ask your grocer to help select the proper variety.)

Always select firm, sound pumpkins that feel heavy for their size. The rind should not have any blemishes or soft spots and a 2- to 3-inch stem should be intact.

Fresh pumpkins may be stored in a cool, dry dark place for up to 2 months. Ideal temperature range for storage is 55 to 59F (12.5 to 15C). Do not store below 50F (10C) and do not store fresh pumpkin in a refrigerator or wrap in plastic.

How to Prepare Homemade Pumpkin Puree…

The following recipe will yield a minimum of 1-3/4 cups of puree — equal to 1 (15-oz.) can of solid pack pumpkin puree. (Three pounds of fresh pumpkin will yield about 3 cups mashed cooked pumpkin.) Any leftover puree may be frozen ‘ see freezing instructions below. Use this puree in recipes or substitute it in the same amount in any recipe calling for solid pack canned pumpkin.

1. Choose a 3 to 4 pound sugar (‘pie’) pumpkin for preparing puree. (Under no circumstances cook or eat a carved Halloween pumpkin as the cut surfaces breed bacteria.)

2. Preheat oven to 350F (175C).

3. Just prior to baking, rinse the pumpkin under cold water to remove any dirt or debris from the outside of the pumpkin; wipe dry with a cloth or paper towel.

4. Split the pumpkin in half and remove the seeds and stringy fibers by scraping the insides with a metal spoon. Discard fibers and save seeds for toasting, if desired.

5. Rub the cut surfaces of the pumpkin with canola oil and place the 2 halves (cut-side-down) in a roasting pan. Add 1 cup of water.

6. Bake in preheated oven until pumpkin flesh is tender when pierced with a knife (approximately 90 minutes).

7. Remove the pumpkin halves from the oven and place them on a cutting board or other flat surface to cool.

8. When cool enough to handle, scoop the baked flesh out of each pumpkin half with a spoon.

9. Puree pumpkin in a food processor fitted with a metal chopping blade or mash by hand.

10. Place the puree in a sieve lined with a paper-towel or coffee filter and set over a deep bowl. Let drain, stirring occasionally until the puree is as thick as canned solid pack pumpkin, approximately 1 to 2 hours. (Important: Do not allow cooked pumpkin to set at room temperature longer than two hours in the process of making puree.)

Note: Pumpkin may also be cut into chunks and steamed or cooked in boiling water until soft. Remove pulp from rind then mash or run through a food mill or food processor. Because this technique yields a more ‘watery’ puree, it is important to drain out moisture as mentioned above, or by gently warming in a heavy-bottomed saucepan to remove any excess water before use.

How To Preserve Pumpkin Puree…
Homemade pumpkin puree freezes beautifully for later use. To freeze:

1. Allow prepared puree to cool completely.
2. Measure puree into 1-3/4 cup portions and place in clean ridged freezer containers (leaving 1/2-inch headspace).
3. Label and date. Freeze for up to one year.

Cooking With Pumpkin Puree…

Not only is pumpkin puree an excellent source of vitamin A, low in sodium and fat-free — it is also very versatile. Whether using homemade or commercially canned puree, it is an ingredient that may be used in preparing an endless number of pie, cake, cookie, muffin, sweet bread, pancake, creamy soup and elegant bisque recipes.

Why not try swirling some into a steaming bowl of cream of wheat cereal along with some maple syrup? Maybe consider perking up ordinary mashed potatoes by mashing in some pumpkin puree and sour cream. Just be creative and use your imagination ‘ also keep in mind that most recipes that call for winter squash or sweet potatoes may be successfully prepare by substituting pumpkin.

Copyright ©2005 Janice Faulk Duplantis
About the Author: Janice Faulk Duplantis, author and publisher, currently maintains a web site that focuses on both Easy Gourmet and French/Cajun Cuisine. Visit www.bedrockpress.com to see all that Bedrock Press has to offer. Janice also publishes 4 free monthly ezines: Gourmet Bytes, Lagniappe Recipe, Your Favorite Recipes and Cooking 101. Visit Bedrock Press to subscribe.