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Monday, December 9, 2013

Pumpkin-y questions

Okay, so a couple of you are curious about my intentions with my pumpkin haul from last week (14 pumpkins for free!)

SandyAZ wants to know, "how much canned pumpkin will you get from all those free pumpkins?"

And Delores, gifted with 4 pumpkins over the Thanksgiving holiday, "it's just my husband and I. I don't know what to do with these pumpkins. Besides pie and muffins, do you have any recipes?"

So, for Sandy, this is 5 of the pumpkins cooking down in my largest stock pot. I've been reducing the pumpkins down to about 2  1/2 cups of puree per pumpkin, on average. So, with my 14 recently acquired pumpkins, I should have about 16 pints of pumpkin puree. Of course, I'm using much of it in cooking this week.

The pumpkins looked to be going soft, so last weekend, I cooked 7 of them, and this weekend, 5. I have 2 of the free pumpkins left, and 3 other pumpkins that I grew in my garden. I am hoping to get them all cooked by the end of next weekend.

Sandy also asked if I can or freeze my pumpkin. I freeze it. But I'd be interested in knowing of other's experience pressure canning pumpkin. Canning would save freezer space. I've just never canned anything that wasn't either high in sugar or vinegar, and am a bit nervous about canning.

For Delores, depending on the size of the pumpkins, you may go through the 4 quickly enough. Cook and can or freeze the puree. Then use the pumpkin over the month's of winter. I find pumpkin to be fairly versatile. It's flavor is mild enough that it can be added to many of my regular dishes.

This weekend, I made a batch of pumpkin soup, some pumpkin muffins (my favorite recipe is from the inside of a Libby's label on canned pumpkin) and added some pumpkin to a chili-mac casserole on Friday, and some to refried beans for Saturday night's burritos.

I frequently add 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree to casseroles and other dishes. The flavor, in small quantities, doesn't seem to compete with other recipe ingredients.

I made a successful pumpkin soup last winter, from Live and Learn's blog. It had peanut butter and curry in it. Live and Learn, if you're reading today, could you give us a link to that recipe?

I make a delicious pumpkin, sage, Italian sausage and cream pasta sauce. I'll be making this later this week, when I have time to make some homemade fettuccine.

Pumpkin oatmeal is a nice change from other oatmeal flavors. Just add some pumpkin (about 1 to 2 tablespoons per serving), cinnamon, nutmeg and sweeten with maple syrup, or add maple extract.

I've been wanting to make pumpkin butter. Does anyone have experience with making pumpkin butter?

I've also thought that I could blend some of this pumpkin with homemade applesauce, for a pumpkin-spice applesauce. I'll try it and let you know if we like it.

What else? Do you have any favorite pumpkin recipes that you could add to this list?


  1. Hi Lili
    I pressure can pumpkin in chunks. Peel, cube hot water and then can... I can give the times/pressure if anybody interested. I also cook, puree and freeze, but I will admit both ways have benefits. As for what I use the pumpkin for: pies, bars, bread, muffins and just recently biscotti... very good recipe if anyone wants it, I can give it to you. I hear people use it for stews and soups. I would have loved to have had some more pumpkins... my garden only produced 4 decent size ones. Oh well, better luck next year..
    Have a great Monday! Lisa

    1. Hi Lisa,
      yum! Pumpkin biscotti sounds really autumnal! I'd love if you could pass the recipe on!

  2. I have made pumpkin butter....but it isn't recommended that you can I freeze mine. I basically use an apple butter recipe but adjust the spices for pumpkin. I have also made it sugar free for diabetic friends and family. We like it on biscuits or toast.
    I also replace part of my oil in baking some recipes with pumpkin....not over something that will not be overpowered by the taste. You would basically do this like you would if you were using applesauce instead of part of the oil.
    You can also take a brownie mix and stir in 2 cups of pureed pumpkin and bake. Follow package directions for baking....but add nothing but pumpkin. It makes a much healthier oil, no eggs and is very moist. We also enjoy the crustless pumpkin pie because it is healthier....but do splurge on the "real deal' at times.

    1. Hi Linda,
      Oh, I didn't know that about home-canning pumpkin butter not being recommended. I'll have to freeze any that I make. And the brownie mix with just pumpkin added sounds like it would be very moist!

  3. Don't forget that you can use pumpkin in savoury dishes as well. I like roasting it and then eating it plain or using it in salads or pasta. Some types of pumpkin are more bland than others, but you can add extra spices to enhance the flavour.

    1. Hi Liz,
      I'm going to make an effort to prepare more savory dishes with the pumpkin this year. Maybe some risotto, or a stew. I'll have to google some recipes.

  4. Mmm, pumpkin butter and applesauce sound good. Let us know how it turns out.

    Like Linda M, I often use pumpkin puree as a substitute for oil and liquid in baking recipes--but I use canned pumpkin so I'm not sure if it would turn out the same way.

    1. Hi Kris,
      With my next batch that I cook up, I'll make sure to package most of it in small amounts, so I can use as a substitute for oil. I do strain my home-cooked pumpkin to thicken it up a bit. The leftover liquid gets added to the next pot of soup.

  5. As for the soup that Lili mentioned--it sounds strange to start out with, the flavors of pumpkin, curry, and peanut butter, but it's actually quite good and very easy. Here's a link if anyone wants to give it a look.

    1. Hi live and learn,'
      thanks for the link to your recipe. We *really* enjoyed it, and will be making it again this winter!

  6. I love pumpkin waffles. This is my favourite recipe, the spiced whipped cream is equally good in coffee :)

    1. Hi Martine,
      Pumpkin waffles with whipped cream on top -- I think that could become a new favorite with me!! I'll check out that recipe -- thanks for including it here.

  7. I have read that puree is too dense to safely can at home. the canning books recommend canning cubes of pumpkin. I think this would result in a lot of flavor and vitamin loss so I choose to freeze my pumplin puree.I fill zipper bags and put them in an empty cereal box until frozen that way they stack nicely in the freezer.

    1. HI frugal spinster,
      I did not know that at all, about pumpkin being too dense to safely home can. Good to know! I like your method for freezing baggies of pumpkin in a cereal box. That makes so much sense. Then they actually freeze in a stackable shape (mine slide all over the place in the freezer). I'm going to give that trick a shot!

  8. In addition to all the great ideas listed above, pumpkin is great pickled! I was able to try some in Germany recently, and when I got back home, I searched the internet for a recipe -- there are several. I'm ready to make a second batch this week!

    1. Hi Jayne,
      pumpkin pickles sound very intriguing, and have to top the list of unusual uses for pumpkin, at least here. I'll be on the lookout for a recipe for pickled pumpkin.

  9. I suffer from botulism paranoia syndrome, so I've never tried canning anything.

    BUT... I did succeed in using up about 6 gallons of pumpkin puree and about half a dozen pie pumpkins this year when I was cleaning out my freezer & pantry.

    My favorite recipe used to be very similar to this one:

    Alas, due to allergies I can no longer have most of those spices. Anyhow, I experimented with different recipes and found a few winners.

    Pumpkin pie soup was delicious. I never write down recipes, but it was similar to this one:

    Then I made a bunch of pumpkin & corn chowder which was basically onion, pumpkin, corn, green chilies and chicken broth... cook and puree.

    Of course I made a TON of pumpkin bread, but the most interesting thing I made was a variation of "pumpkin preserves". It was basically chunks of pumpkin marinated in sugar and lemon juice, cooked then chilled. It was yummy!

    1. Hi Cat,
      Thanks for those links to recipes. I'll be checking them out. And the chowder sounds delicious. I'll definitely be trying that one!

  10. I love pumpkin. I add mine to chili too, sort of like you did with the chili mac. It makes it creamy. Pumpkin can be added to smoothies. Pumpkin, almond milk, and some cinnamon is pretty good. There is nothing pretty than a jar of frozen pumpkin. The color is just beautiful! Lucky you on the 14 free ones.

    1. Hi Belinda,
      Oh, I forgot about smoothies. Those are sooo good! And such an easy way to get some veggies in! Thanks for the reminder!


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