When I think of my Grandma, I think of food. If she wasn’t shelling peas (and getting us to help), we were picking pecans off the ground. We would float in the pool to cool with watermelons…and Grandma was in the kitchen cooking or canning (which really means putting food into a sterilized glass mason jar not an aluminum can)! Food should be simple, whole, healthful, and delicious.
Pumpkins are no exception! The whole process to prepare a pumpkin is simple and provides wonderful enjoyment and recipes for days to come.
However there is a WARNING: AMAZING pumpkin recipes are included; you will want to buy pumpkins in bulk! Your house will look like a Fall Harvest Lot and your neighbors will want to come over and take pictures of their children in your pumpkin-filled home!
As we harvest organic pumpkins from our local farmers, I realize the value of this beautiful vegetable/fruit. We have a pumpkin for decor in our dining area for two months and we can still eat it (except when a child punctures holes all around it, then we prepare immediately). Pumpkins can last 3-6 months in your home.
Although pumpkins have never lasted 6 months for us, it certainly helps to sustain the plant with the stem on. Pathogens try to enter through the stem area and through the wounds of fruit (like punctured holes), so keep those stems on for protection and longevity. No refrigeration is necessary, until cooked of course.
As a child growing up in the country, I was fortunate to have Grandparents who did a little farming and knew the local farmers. My Grandmas could cook and they made everything from scratch with very little waste. So does my Mom! Today, I wish I would have paid attention more, but I did get my fair share of helping, thankfully!
For those who want to save money, this is also a great value.
1 Medium, organic pumpkin = around $6
1 – 15oz can of Organic Canned Pumpkin = around $3
From a value stand point, we get the equivalent of 3 to 5 cans in this one pumpkin and save $5-$9. But in a pinch, there are some good, organic pumpkin brands.
From start to finish this is how “our ancestors prepare a pumpkin”.
Take your pumpkin, holding on to the stem, and cut a circle around the top at a 45° angle.
Now for my secret weapon: The right tool is critical. The Grapefruit Spoon is perfectly curved and serrated.
Scratch out the seeds and place on a cookie sheet.
See all that pulp! I’ve removed all I could, with the children’s help of course, and we do not have time to clean the rest. So fill the pan with water and sprinkle with salt; set aside out of the way and let it soak and sprout a little until tomorrow.
Place the “hat” back on the pumpkin to cook for 40-45 minutes at 350°F.
You do not want mush, but if the meat is not coming off easily, just pop back in the oven for another 15 minutes and repeat until ready. This one needed to cook for 1 hour. Scrape out the meat from the sides and put into a container. You can just cut the whole pumpkin in half and get all the meat right next to the skin. And don’t stress if some of the “stringy stuff” is still in there, it will only provide a little more fiber.
Now you have 3-4 cans worth of pumpkin meat! Simply store the meat in a container and place in the refrigerator. Use within 3 weeks (help in that area below with some terrific pumpkin recipes that are waiting for you).
But don’t forget the Seeds. Remember, our smart grandparents use ALL the pumpkin.
It has been a day and now we empty the seeds from the pan into a collander.Vegetable Soaking Bowl and Colander. Simply swish the seeds in a bowl with a strainer and the remaining pulp is released. Let the children place the seeds on a cookie sheet and spread evenly.
Some call these pepitas (technically for green seeds), we just call them GOOD! I’m getting ahead, sorry.
Now sprinkle spices to your tasting; cumin, salt, chile, cayenne. The amount depends on how many seeds you get. From experience I can say the amount is more than you think, and the spices stick nicely when the seeds are wet.
Have children (with clean hands) stir well. Also, make sure NO touching the face until hands are washed. A little rub in the corner of your eye can turn traumatic real fast! If it happens, just get a soapy rag and gently wash the area pulling away from the eye and rinse.
Cook the seeds on the lowest setting, around 170°F for 4-6 hours. Little hands will devour the seeds before it is finished. I have gone to remove from the oven to find only 2 seeds remaining!
Did I mention that all my children learn to cook by age 6? The older ones help the younger children and everyone has fun preparing and eating! Preparing foods properly is the THIRD most important thing I teach them. When you don’t have time, try these.
Congratulations! You have prepared a pumpkin like our ancestors.
Please enjoy…and think of your grandparents with love!
As promised, here are some links to amazing pumpkin recipes (if ingredients call for a can, use 1 and 1/3 cup homemade pumpkin):
http://mixwellness.com/…/simple-crock-pot-apple…/ Easy and delicious.
http://veggieconverter.com/tag/pumpkin/ Catch all!
http://www.likeanormalperson.com/mix-match-3-ingredient… Use the pumpkin variation..
http://www.savorylotus.com/pumpkin-spice-dutch-baby…/ pancake in a skillet.
http://www.beautyandthefoodie.com/low-carb-pumpkin-bagels/ Pass the cream!
http://carlyshankman.com/paleo-pumpkin-pancakes/ Just add butter above!
http://ohlardy.com/pumpkin-pie-smoothie Superfood smoothie
http://www.maryvancenc.com/…/pumpkin-pie-smoothie-with…/ Surprise inside.
http://healingforreal.com/maple-pumpkin-spiral/ A beautiful whole sweet pumpkin; entertaining
Seeds & Snacks:
http://healingforreal.com/sprouted-sun-dried-pumpkin-seeds/ Tasty craft for children on a sunny day
http://lovelovething.com/pumpkin-pie-bars-dairy-free-egg…/ Delicious, no dairy, no eggs
http://dontmesswithmama.com/easy-gluten-free-pumpkin…/ Fantastic gluten free bread
http://happymoneysaver.com/cinnamon-glazed-pumpkin-spice…/ For a sweet bread, great treat
http://lovelovething.com/fried-pumpkin-biscuits-df-ef-nf/ Biscuits are supreme!
http://gutsybynature.com/…/pumpkin-chocolate-chip…/ For that someone special
http://lovelovething.com/pumpkin-fudge-dairy-egg-free…/ Pumpkin fudge? Need I say more?
http://www.savorylotus.com/pumpkin-pie-chia-pudding/… Breakfast or anytime!
Now I have to go buy more pumpkin before there are no more…
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