Thursday, September 18, 2008 doesn't take much/Updated

To make a girl really happy!

These are pie pumpkins.

Not huge jack-o-lanterns, but pie pumpkins. The little pumpkins that pack a big punch of flavor.

And they're so 'happy inducing' because after living in Southern California since forever, I've rarely been able to find them. (go ahead and laugh...but after growing up in Michigan, the idea of not finding these is strange.)

Last year, it was midnight when I was making Thanksgiving Pumpkin Pies when I was able to cook down a pumpkin for the pies.

This year...I'm way ahead of the game!

And since it took me years to get the hang of cooking down pumpkins...for my kids' benefit..or those of you who are used to ordering pumpkins or cracking open a can of already mushed pumpkin, let me show you how easy it is to make them taste sooooooooooooo much better than the cardboard some of them come packaged in.

Step 1: OK that would have been buying them and bringing them home.

Step 2: Cut them open, scoop out the gunk, and slice into 6-8 chunks.

Step 3: lay them into a roaster with about a 1/4" of water and cover with foil.

Step 4: Bake at 400*F for 1 hour in the oven.

Step 5: Be careful when opening the foil, the seam will be hot.

They will look softer than when you started, and if you poke them with a fork or a knife you'll feel how soft they have gotten.

Step 6: Drain in a colander and let cool. Using a spoon, scrap the pulp out of the skin and into a bowl.

Step 7: There are several choices to 'smush' the pulp. You can put the pieces into a blender, food processor, or just use your mixer. You want to make sure the 'lumps' are all smooth and well cooked.

Step 8: Storing the cooked pumpkin. I like to store my pumpkin in 2 cup amounts, which just happens to be the amount my favorite pie recipe calls for. (Compliments of Betty Crocker, thankyouverymuch.) Now, with the cooked pumpkin being a wee bit on the messy side, here's my current hint to keep clean up a breeze. Line a 2 cup liquid measuring cup with a 1 quart zip top plastic bag.

Step 9: Measure out 2 cups into the bag and zip it shut without as much air as you can squeeze out of the bag. If you flip it over on the counter once or twice, it will be 'flat' on both sides and pretty much even itself out. Make sure you label the bag with a permanent marker what you have inside, and the amount you have measured in the bag along with the date you cooked it to keep your freezer filled with only fresh food. HOWEVER.......

DON'T flip the bag over AFTER you have just marked the bag with the permanent marker! It tends to leave permanent marker on the counter.

*sigh* See what I mean?

In case you have made my same mistake, know that fingernail polish remover will take it off of the counter if you use it right away.

Step 10: Freeze flat until you're ready to use.

See? Easy as Pie!

Update: noon: These 6 pumpkins gave me 21 Cups of cooked pumpkin. No added ingredients, all natural.

Update: Noon + 30: Good question 'shortoldlady'....Jack-o-lanterns are a lighter shade of 'pulp' and are much stringier. Pie Pumpkins will be listed as either cooking pumkins or pie pumpkins. Not only are they smaller, but they're a darker shade of 'pulp meat'. They're a different variety than the jack-o-lanterns.

In other news:

The patch has been stitched on with DMC floss and as soon as I remember where I put the matching hat the other day, it'll be on it's way with cousin #2 KBB baby blanket. *sigh* all the best-laid-plans I tell you!

Update: Noon + 5 hours + 32: The hat has been located, the Cousin #2 set has been photographed, packed and is now on its way, and rumor has it - baby may be born tomorrow. Not a moment too soon! When all else fails, Look in your camera bag. You just MIGHT find the missing baby hat hiding in there! (Don't ask.) This stuff only happens to me. OY!

These are called "Black Bottomed Cupcakes" and they cost me 4 burnt fingers taking them out of the oven. Maybe this post should have been called Lessons come in threes? oy!


Susan said...

Fantastic pumpkin tutorial! I am almost 60 years old and have never done that! I thought pumpkin came in a can! lol!

old lady said...

I'm another "canned" pumpkin user (bad me). Question: are pie pumpkins just small pumpkins or are they a different variety of pumpkin I have to look for??

Jennifer said...

Cathy - LOVE the lessons on the pumpking today... even about the sharpie! I think I'm mad at you for sharing the pictures of the black bottom cupcakes without a link to the recipe - but it's probably just as well. It's the last thing I need. The M sweater is precious!

LizzieK8 said...

I haven't made home made pumpkin in years...maybe I'll check the pumpkins today and see if there are any worth working with.

Those Mr. Clean scrubby pads work really, really, really well for getting off marker ink, even old ink.

magnoliasntea said...

Who knew pumpkin could be so easy! This is a wonderful tutorial. I did kinda the same thing with a cushaw a few years back. It made very good pies, too. Thank you for taking the time to post for us.

Suzanne said...

I am new to your blog, but I love the pumpkin tutorial!! I make a lot of things with pumpkin, and how fun will this be!! Thanks so much for sharing. I will be back!!

SNOWBIRD said...

Nothing like fresh and I mean fresh pumpkin pie. What time is dinner? I love your Michigan Wolverine baby items. Just too cute. MI won one yesterday! GO BLUE!

susanmark said...

HI Cathy,

I have been bugging my dh to make me "homemade" pumpkin custard (pie filling) from the pumkins in my brother's garden. Your tutorial helped alot. I read it aloud to him.

Did you post the recipe for the black bottom cupcakes? IF so I can't find it. Being a chocolate addict that I am, they really look delicious!!!!!!!!!

Thank you for all the wonderful patterns you share with us,too. I knit several of them and plan to do more. I did the JOY cloth/towel set for my secret sister at church.
Hope she likes it.