Saturday, November 14, 2009

Stay-at-home Saturday: A Tip and a Lesson

Did you know?
You should clean your coffee maker regularly to prevent impurities from tainting the taste of your coffee. Here’s an easy way to do it: Put a ½ cup of white vinegar in your pot and fill the rest of the way with water. Add to the coffee maker and brew. Pour out water and refill with a full pot of water. Brew. Voila! A clean machine! (By the way, I got this from Woman's Day magazine a few months ago. I wish I could claim to have come up with so many nifty ideas but I can't!)

Pumpkin Lessons

With Thanksgiving on the horizon, you may need to use the following information that I'm about to share. Have you heard that there is a shortage of canned pumpkin this year? Well, there is, so you'll need this critical information more than ever: I roasted and pureed my own pumpkin this year. I'm not sure why, but I had this need to do something homemade and maybe to save a little money in the process. Let me say that I did not enjoy this process, not one bit, so my perspective is a little on the, ah, negative side. If you have done this before and had a great experience I'd love to hear from you.

First, let me say that the pumpkin my dear husband chose for me to roast was way too big for this job. Way too big.

The pumpkins at the pumpkin patch that were good for pies, etc. were all $4, no matter the size. So we walked off with a prize-winning pumpkin that I had to wrestle when I started my task. You are supposed to be able to chop off the top, then cut it in half, then quarters. Well, I just had to cut off any side I could, and here is the result: After you get the pumpkin cut into quarters (or manageable pieces, in my case) you scrape off the seeds and strings. No one prepared me for how gross this was. I was not expecting the seeds and stringy-ness to be so slimy. Shudder. Oh, and it stained my hand orange. I was told not to discard the seeds so that they can later be roasted. I set them aside to deal with later. Update: I roasted the pumpkin seeds. I burned them.

After you scrape the sections clean then you put them on a roasting pan. You don’t have to put any oil on them but I recommend spraying your pan, as I now have two pans with permanent spots on them where I can’t get the pumpkin residue off.

Into the oven they go for about an hour on 400 degrees. You’ll know they are ready when they are fork-tender. When they have cooled enough, you separate the pumpkin “meat” from the skin. There’s probably a better way to do this, but I was so over this project by this time that I just ran a knife under the meat and called it done.
Dump your pumpkin into your food processor or blender and purée away! If needed you can add a few tablespoons of water, but my pumpkin was plenty juicy so I puréed for a minute or so, scraped down the sides, and puréed some more. Here is what I got: I poured one-cup portions into bags and stuck them in the freezer. Done! Thank goodness. I got 6 cups of purée out of my pumpkin, so at $4 that’s about $0.66 a cup. Not bad I guess, but my time is worth away more than that. Next year it’s canned pumpkin for me, baby! Happy Thanksgiving!




HPS said...

1st off, LOL at your tip b/c this is my brother's fav thing to harp on everytime he makes coffee at my parents house.

Secondly, I am very impressed at your concsciencious (sp?) pumpkin attempt. I commend the motive and appreciate you keeping it real for us. Pictures make it even better! I've noticed HT has a 2 can limit and that's with it not on sale!

gmt said...

All I can say is WOW. Tackling that pumpkin looks like quite the task....I am all about some Libby's, evaporated milk and frozen pie crust.....all on sale at HT this week!! I am proud of you for trying it all from scratch! Very impressive!!