Thursday, November 7, 2013

Simple Suggestion #185... Make the most of your jack-o'-lantern

Our jolly jack-o'-lanterns
Here's a suggestion I should have moodled last week!

The last few days, as Shadow puppy and I have gone on our morning walks, we've seen many frozen, saggy jack-o'-lanterns abandoned on front steps and planters. It makes me a little sad... there's good food value in those characters -- 1 cup of cooked, mashed pumpkin gives you 245% of your daily vitamin A intake, as well as 20% of your vitamin C, plus iron, calcium, magnesium, and potassium. So why not think about Jack in terms of pumpkin soup, pumpkin loaf or muffins, and pumpkin pies!

Cooked pumpkin chunks
Processing pumpkin is really easy -- just take your basic jack-o'-lantern and hack it into quarters with a sharp knife, top to bottom. Then cut the quarters into horizontal strips and slice off the outer skin off before chopping it into bite-sized chunks. Toss them into a large pot with a dribble of water (to keep them from sticking to the bottom at first) and cook them on medium heat until soft. Depending on what you want to do with your pumpkin puree, you might want to drain it for a few hours once it's cooked to get the store-bought pumpkin consistency if needed.

To make basic cooked, spiced pumpkin puree like you buy in cans, take 3 cups of pumpkin and add:
3/4 c (180 mL)sugar
2 tsps (10 mL) cinnamon
1 tsp (5 mL) cloves
1 tsp (5 mL) allspice
1/2 tsp (2 mL) ginger

Here are three of my favourite recipes using pumpkin. These days I'm frequently referring to them, as Suzanna grew more jack-o'-lanterns than usual this year!

Pumpkin Soup (recipe also works with other kinds of squash, including zucchini!)

In large saucepan, saute 2 cloves garlic in 1 tablespoon (15 mL) margarine.
Add 2 cups (500 mL) chicken broth.
Add 5 cups (2250 mL) fresh pumpkin chunks.
Cook on medium heat until the pumpkin becomes translucent. Puree for a smooth consistency, and serve with a dollop of sour cream.
Easy peasy!

Pumpkin Loaf

Mix together
3 c (750 mL) cooked, spiced, pumpkin puree (see above)
6 eggs
1 1/2 c (375 mL) vegetable oil
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla
1 c (250 mL) lightly packed brown sugar (as a diabetic, I skimp -- you might like to add a half cup (125 mL more
grated peel from 1 orange
Mmmmm, it smells so good!

In another bowl, combine
4 1/2 cups (1125 mL) flour
3 tsps (15 mL) baking soda
3/4 tsp (4 mL) baking powder
1 c (250 mL) chopped almonds
1 c (250 mL) raisins

Fold wet and dry ingredients together and divide into 3 buttered loaf pans. Bake at 350 F (175 C) for an hour. Test with a toothpick (it should come out clean) to ensure centre is baked through.

Pumpkin Pie -- there is such thing as a pie pumpkin (supposedly sweeter than your run-of-the-mill variety) but this recipe works well with our ordinary garden pumpkins.

3 c (750 mL) cooked, spiced pumpkin puree (see above)
1 370 mL can of evaporated milk
3/4 c (180 mL) sugar
1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
1/2 tsp (2 mL) vanilla
4 eggs

2 pie crusts (I make mine using Tenderflake shortening, following the recipe on the box. Also easy peasy!

Preheat oven to 425 F (220 C).
In a large bowl, combine the spiced pumpkin with remaining ingredients. An immersion blender works great if you have one.
Divide the filling between the two pie crusts. With strips of aluminum foil, carefully cover the edges of the pie crusts so they don't burn.
Place the pies in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 350 F (175 C) and bake for an additional 50 minutes, or until pies are set (do a toothpick test -- it should come out clean).
Let cool somewhat... and don't forget the whipped cream!

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1 comment:

  1. thanks for the easy to follow instructions.
    even tho i just finished dinner, i'm wishing i had a pumpkin right about now!
    su :)


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