The flavor of Fall


I planted my first Sugar baby pie pumpkins this year.  I could hardly wait to see all the little gems that were sure to come off those vines!  Sadly, I only harvested one pumpkin and I sacrificed it to make my dad a pumpkin pie for his birthday.  A good cause, right?  I was content with the thought that I would have to buy my pumpkins again this year and resort to the occasional canned gloop when I saw I sign at the farmer’s market that pumpkins were going to be scarce this year (reason unknown, but it did make me feel better about my less than productive vines) and I was struck with an insane urgency to stock up.  That day, I bought 10 pie pumpkins.  This weekend, I finally finished putting them up for the winter.  I should be sitting back and enjoying my work, but I think I’m going to have to buy more.  Pumpkin seems to be Liam’s new favorite flavor and I’m more than willing to oblige.

My mother used to make her own pumpkin puree by halving the pumpkins, scooping out the seeds and roasting them until tender in a 350 degree oven.  When they were cool enough to handle, she would scoop out the flesh and take it for a spin in the food processor before either baking it into something or freezing it.  I must admit that when I first had my own home and did my baking, I just bought the cans from the supermarket… until I learned that those cans of “pumpkin” aren’t 100% pumpkin, but a mixture of squashes.  Cue my obsession with hoarding pumpkins every Fall.  This year, I tried a new method of handling the pumpkins and I think I’ll be repeating it yearly.  I washed the pumpkins and then cut each one into 8 pieces.  I then removed the seeds and placed the pieces in my crock pot.  When the crock pot was full, I sprinkled a little cinnamon and sugar over the top and then let them cook on low for about 2 hours or until I could pierce the shell with a fork.  Then, I let them cool a bit before scooping out the flesh.  This is where I had some fun.  I chose to puree my pumpkin with an immersion blender.  It worked out well for me this time around because I was still working on the pumpkins tonight after Liam went to bed and it’s so much quieter than any of my other options.  Also, there was only 1 piece to clean up!  I then froze the pumpkin in bags measured out to 2 cups.  2 cups seems to be about the norm for all my recipe requirements.  I actually season the pumpkin once it’s in the batter for whatever I’m working on, but the sugar and cinnamon the pumpkin was baked with helps to soften and tenderize the pumpkin and I like it so much better this way!  For reference, I got 7 2-cup bags of puree from 4 average sized pie pumpkins.  That’s lot of baking potential!

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