Pumpkin season

For pottage and puddings and custards and pies,
Our pumpkins and parsnips are common supplies,
We have pumpkins at morning and pumpkins at noon,
If it were not for pumpkins we should be undoon.

–Pilgrim verse, circa 1630

Please please please don’t waste your pumpkin by just using it for a candle holder: it is an edible and excellent food! I weep annually in this country for the pumpkins rotting in the fields on November 1st, when, as we must still repeat and repeat, there are people starving elsewhere in the world. Instead of meditating on such bad behaviour, why not reward yourself with a good meal of pumpkins? Such cheap food at this time of year, and easy to freeze as a puree.

Make your own equivalent to canned pumpkin from scratch, by baking it (like most squash it’s watery, so needs to be baked: boiling or steaming it will get you into trouble). Seed and cut the pumpkin in half or big chunks, without peeling, and bake it cut side down on a lightly oiled baking sheet at 350 F for about 30-40 minutes, until the flesh is tender when poked with a fork. Cool until just warm. Scrape the pumpkin flesh from the peel. Either mash, or puree in small batches in a blender. Freeze it in 1 cup containers if you can’t cope with anything more after all that effort.

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