Friday, January 23, 2015
We grew a plethora of pumpkins this year. We gave some away. We put many green and damaged pumpkins in the compost. We left more back by the woods for the critters. We also stored pumpkins in the basement. Many of them are still lurking down there waiting. Today Ed and I took care of three pumpkins. We do these together. Ed doesn't like to see me with a large knife in my hand and he definitely doesn't like to make trips to the emergency room, so he cuts the pumpkins in half for me. He also scrapes out the innards using an old gravy ladle. I then place them cut half down surrounded by one half an inch of water and bake them in a 350 degree oven. It takes about an hour, sometimes more depending on their size. When the house smells like pumpkin and the shells cave in when touched, they are ready.
They look like this when they come out of the oven. I give them some time to cool off so that I can handle them comfortably.
When they are cool you can scoop the pumpkin out leaving the intact skin to go in the compost. After that I freeze the pumpkin in containers that contain enough pumpkin for six pumpkin custards or a pie.
We could have done this sooner so now for the procrastinator part. The first pumpkin Ed cut was disgusting inside. The pumpkin looked fine, but a close inspection revealed a small hole in the bottom. Some insect had burrowed in through the blossom scar while the pumpkins were growing in the field. Had this pumpkin been processed promptly, it would have been fine. Our wait allowed rot to take hold so now it went directly to the compost. Today's next two chosen pumpkins were fine. Since we have waited so long some of the pumpkins have nasty surprises. The worst are the ones that have developed soft spots. When you pick up a pumpkin and your thumb sinks into a soft smelly spot, you know you have put things off too long. Mithren, our cat, seems captivated by the smell. I can't think why since when he licks that yucky pumpkin juice he always seems to throw up.
So we are multitasking. We are warming the kitchen, cleaning up the basement, freezing pumpkin for later use and keeping the cat from throwing up all at the same time. Oh right, did I tell you we had a huge bumper crop of Butternut squash? They are processed in a similar manner.