Sunday, March 01, 2009

Cooking with Pumpkin

Cooking with PumpkinIt's getting late in the season but I'm going to mention this anyway. Last fall when pumpkins were everywhere I decided I was going to try something new.

I bought an extra pumpkin or two. One for carving, the rest for baking. I'd heard that fresh pumpkin was so much better than the canned that I was compelled to take up the challenge and see for myself which was better.

All you have to do is wash your pumpkin and carve out the stump on the top. Slice it into quarters (and this is where it's better not to get too ambitious with the size of pumpkin--smaller is better) and bake it at 350 for 45-60 minutes on a lightly greased baking sheet.

By that time the flesh will be soft, even mushy, and once it's cool enough to handle you can scrape out the strings and seeds left inside. You can see from my picture how much darker the skin on the pumpkin gets after baking.

The skin strips right off--peels like a blanched tomato or a peach and once you've got the pumpkin flesh de-stringed, de-seeded and peeled you can puree it and either pack it for freezing or use it right away.

I used the pumpkin in my standard pumpkin bread recipe and the difference it made was noticeable. The color of the bread was be lighter (one can only imagine all the food dyes that must be in the canned stuff) but crispier on the top crust and more flavorful and moist.

A small pumpkin such as you see here produced the equivalent of slightly more than 2 28-ounce cans of pumpkin which means it may not be quite as economical as the canned version (it depends on what you can get on sale) but it certainly tastes better.

***

And speaking of trying something rather old-fashioned--you may want to see this video clip which I love on many levels.

"You're in a chair! In the sky!" should be the quote of the week.



Congratulations to Wendy of Pomona, New York for winning the Wizard of Oz tickets for the show at Madison Square Garden--it ought to be a fun time for the whole family.

Sponsored by Tiny Prints for the holiday party invitations for children and by Tiny Totties for crib bedding sets.

Technorati tags: food, recipes

25 comments:

One Mom said...

Now if I only had room in my yard to grow some pumpkins.....

The video cracked me up! There is so much truth in what he says and he just scrapes the surface of what we take for granted. What a spoiled people we have become!

Anji Gallanos said...

Loved it! A great video to wake up to on a Sunday morning and realize how lucky we are.

My mom used to cook with pumpkin all the time..I haven't. Like the video...we get used to the convenience of things...pumpkin in cans. Real pumpkin is great in foods, and I think I am going to give it a try for some pumpkin bread. yummy

Kathy G said...

I haven't bought canned pumpkin for decades One Halloween years ago we went with a friend to her dad's pumpkin farm and left with more pumpkins than we could carry. After the big day I couldn't bear to throw them away, so I cooked them; a tradition was born.

Now, even though I've scaled back to only one or two pumpkins, I still cook them up and use them for the Thanksgiving pies.

Lara said...

I watched that video last week when someone posted on Facebook. Cracked. Me. UP.

And also gave me a ton of perspective. We are such an entitled generation.

Dave Thurston said...

Thanks for the video clip. Anything said or written that can hit the nail firmly on the head are the best - this video does that. Thanks.

Chris said...

Kathy, I do the same thing...I always buy extra little pumpkins for my front porch, don't carve them, and cook them later....I'm going to try the baking approach though, as I usually steam the chunks...it's much harder to cut and peel! I puree, put 2c. into each bag and freeze...exactly what I need for my recipes...it usually lasts me all year!

***Patricia Linehan*** said...

I pureed pumpkin this year too. Our church was desperate to get rid of their extra pumpkins after Halloween so we got 3 big ones for $3. Making baby food for my son made me realize that it's really not as difficult or time consuming to make purees as it seems.

Jill in MA said...

Do you or any of your readers know if it makes a difference what kind of pumpkins you buy? I thought there were special baking pumpkins, but I never see anything label differences in the store....

Stephanie and Co. said...

Thanks for the video. It made a great point while making me laugh. Hilarious.

The Dunns said...

That video was great and so true. How spoiled and selfish are we?

Scribbit said...

Jill--I'd heard there were baking pumpkins too but I've never seen them in the store so I tried the carving ones. Since then I've seen things where they bake with the same kind (decorative) so it seems you can get away with it. Though I'd imagine if you ever got your hands on a baking pumpkin it would make even that much more difference.

Laurel Nelson said...

Who is that guy? He's funny!

Jolanthe said...

We saw this the other day on someone's facebook page and that was the one comment that I posted on - just made me laugh outloud! :)

Melissa said...

I posted that video on Facebook, too, and it still makes me laugh! Love it!

Amy said...

Love that video! He's so right about flying. How can you be reading People Magazine as we take off and LEAVE THE FACE OF THE EARTH?!

Sarah @ BecomingSarah.com said...

I'm with One Mom! If only I had a place to grow pumpkins...

Just more incentive to actually start a vegetable garden, I guess.

jacjewelry said...

I try to use fresh over canned as much as possible! I make a butternut squaqsh bisque, and roast the ingredients in the oven for 15-20 minutes - it makes SUCH a difference! I'll bet the pumpkin had a nice roasted flavor after baking for 45-60 minutes!

Sucharita Sarkar said...

Pumpkins are very popular in this part of the world. My elder daughter loves sliced pumpkin shallow-fried, and the younger one will eat it mashed and sprinkled with grated coconut.

AKkimmie said...

please please do tell your pumpkin bread recipe:)

Serena said...

I saw that video a few days ago, and that was my favorite quote, too! I just busted up over it.

I'm so glad you did this post! I've been wondering what the difference would be to use fresh pumpkin as opposed to canned in my pumpkin bread recipe. I'm definitely going to give the fresh a try. I was also wondering how it would be if I substituted butternut squash for the pumpkin. Maybe I'll get brave this week and try it.

Scribbit said...

Actually, my pumpkin bread recipe is just the basic one out of the Better Homes and Gardens standard cookbook--you know, the one with the red plaid cover? Though sometimes I throw in coconut or craisins or things like that.

My Ice Cream Diary said...

I fell prey to the lovely texture, lighter color, and fresher taste of fresh pumpkin last November and I curse the day. Opening a can was just so much easier, but how can I ever go back?

thediaperdiaries said...

I love that video so much. I have seen it a lot lately. I really appreciated him so I went searching for other comedy. He is funny, but man oh man, he needs some bleeping. He lets the f-bombs fly. Just warning you all.

Octamom said...

I got to see this last week and just loved it!! And you're right--that should be the resounding quote for a while!

Blessings!

Nicole said...

That is hilarious...and so true.