Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Where are all the pumpkins??

Have I mentioned that I love fall?  And also that I love squash (every kind, except summer squash YUCK!!) and also that I love pumpkins!!! I love the beautiful shades of orange and smooth texture. I love that every pumpkin I see seems to have a personality just waiting to be set free with a few wonderful ingredients, or some fellow decorations. 
I was so excited for the first day of fall, I had a whole fun menu planned and some special baking projects for me and the kids to tackle.  Well as the eve of the autumn solstice arrived, I remembered, "oh no, I never bought the canned pumpkin for the muffins we are making TOMORROW morning!!".  So off to the store I went to grab a few cans of pumpkin.... I raced to the baking isle, only to find,  NO PUMPKIN!!!!  Well, actually that is a lie. There was canned pumpkin, cute cans of organic pumpkin for almost $3.00 a can.  Now I'm not against organic or anything, but I am against blowing my small grocery budget for canned pumpkin. 
I am usually all about taking short cuts, like canned pumpkin, but since that didn't seem like a logical option I went on a pie pumpkin hunt, however again found NOTHING!!  Finally I did spot something, my heart began to beat, my hands became sweaty, it was something huge, round and bright orange.  IT WAS A PUMPKIN!!!  Now, I know you are not supposed to use those huge pumpkins for cooking, something about the not as sweet flavor, and stringy texture, but I was in a crunch... and that is all I had. I decided if I was going to go big, I was going to GO BIG!! So 3 minutes and $4.50 later; I drove home with the largest pumpkin I could get my hands on nesting safely in the seat next to me. 

SIDE NOTE: Apparently I'm not the only person that has missed canned pumpkin, so a heads up... Due to weather related problems, The pumpkin crops did not yield as well as they have in the past; so if you come across canned pumpkin and it is something you use regularly during this season BUY IT!!!! 

Anyways, Got home with my pumpkin and started cooking him.... and here is my experience.

After poking holes with a meat fork and cooking for about 2.5 at 350. I decided it was time to cut open this yummy smelling gourd!! After letting the pumpkin cool. I peeled off the skin, and started mashing... I'm pretty sure I now have almost  enough pumpkin to make it through the fall and winter season. The pumpkin is slightly stringier(is that a word?) so probably not the best for a smooth pumpkin pie, but works great for breads, cakes, cookies, and muffins!
8 cups of mashed pumpkin in my freezer and 4 more already made into SO YUMMY muffins!! For only $4.50 and a little bit of time.
And the best thing about using a real pumpkin and not canned- roasted pumpkin seeds. 
Sweet and Salty pumpkin seeds.
These are coated with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and a little ginger and salt!!! So good.

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