Eating Halloween pumpkins

IMG_20141031_164806999_HDR What can you do with those jack-o-lanterns now that Halloween is past? Don’t throw them out; there are lots of pumpkin treats that taste better than candy.

We make pumpkin pudding (see recipe below), pumpkin bread (recipe below), and pumpkin seeds at this time of year. We store the leftover pumpkin puree in the freezer and use it in everything from muffins to lentil soup in the winter. Pumpkin is a great source of Vitamin A and fiber, and can give you a taste of autumn all year long!

IMG_20141030_161010069The first thing to do with a pumpkin is to extract the seeds. Betsy scrapes out the goop and the seeds (Ben is shown in the photo helping with this), then puts them in a bowl with some water. She swishes them around a little, and the seeds rise to the top. She puts them in a shallow pan with some olive oil and tamari and bakes them at 300 degrees, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes. Delicious and nutritious!IMG_20141101_075717406

Next, we cut up the pumpkin, leaving the skin on, and bake it for about 40 minutes at 375 degrees. After letting it cool, the flesh will separate from the skin. If the pumpkin is stringy, we put it through a food mill.

Pumpkin puree contains a lot of water, and unless you drain it, you’ll get very soggy pudding. I place it in a colander or sieve for about 15 minutes and use the water that drains out for soup stock.

I make pudding, not pies, out of pumpkin because I don’t like pie crusts and they are time-consuming and challenging. The other day, I  combined 2 cups of drained pumpkin puree with one 12-oz can of evaporated milk, 2 eggs, 2/3 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, /2 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon ginger, 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg and 1 teaspoon vanilla. I baked it at 350 degrees for about an hour, until the center didn’t wiggle.

Betsy makes an excellent pumpkin bread in little pans and sells it at the First Congregational Church’s Cranberry Fair (this year on Nov. 22). Here’s the recipe, from The Victory Garden Cookbook:

4 1/2 cups flour

1 package dry yeast

1/8 cup lukewarm water

1/8 cup sugar

3/4 cup milk

1/2 T salt

1/8 cup butter

1 cup drained pumpkin puree

Dissolve yeast in water and 1/2 teaspoon sugar and let stand 6 minutes. Scald milk, and mix with salt, butter and remaining sugar. Cool to lukewarm and add yeast mixture. Add 1 cup flour and then beat in pumpkin. Add remaining flour and let dough rest for 10 minutes. Knead for 10 minutes and let rise until doubled. Punch down and let rest for 5 minutes. Shape into loaves, put in pans, and let rise until doubled. Bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes.




3 thoughts on “Eating Halloween pumpkins

  1. I never figured out why people let Jack ‘O Lanterns rot. The best use for pumpkins has always been as food. Pumpkins are just another variety of squash, so they can be handled as if they were Hubbard or any other Winter squash.

  2. Pingback: A simple living index | Adventures in the good life

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