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Saturday, November 28, 2009

You say you have leftover pumpkins that you had for Thanksgiving and you just don't have the heart to throw them out? DON'T until you read this!...

I know how you feel.

If you eat ONE more turkey leftover, you are going to Ralph.

And now you have to take down all of your Thanksgiving decorations and replace them with Christmas cheer.

And you still have those stupid pumpkins sitting outside.

You can paint them red and green and pretend they are Christmas ornaments, but I'd advise against that.

Actually, I have a much better idea.

And once you do it, you will NEVER want to use canned pumpkin again for your Thanksgiving pumpkin pies, your pumpkin bars or your pumpkin bread.

I am going to walk you through how to use REAL pumpkins for your favorite recipes instead of using the poop-brown, canned, icky pumpkin that you get at the store.

Gather all the pumpkins you still have that haven't frozen outside or haven't gotten moldy. We bought these WEEKS ago but since it is chilly here, they have lasted fine:

No, that stuffed turkey is not a pumpkin. (Just in case you were wondering).

Step one:
Carve out wedges of pumpkin:

Step Two:

Carve away any seeds and pulp away from the wedges and also carve away the outside part of the wedge (like you do with a cantelope or honeydew melon):

Step 3:
Cut the wedges into smaller pieces:

Step 4:
Add about 1/2 cup of water to the bottom of a microwaveable bowl,
and then add the pumpkin pieces that you just carved up to the top of the bowl:

Step 5:
Cover the bowl with the pumpkin and the water with a piece of wax paper
and place in the microwave.
Cook on high for 15 minutes.
Stir it.
Cook on high for about another 15 minutes:

Pick pumpkin with a fork.
If it is soft, like boiled potatoes, it is done:

Step 6:
Dump them into a strainer and let all the water drain off of them.
(Be careful, they will be VERY hot!):

Step 7:
Place cooked, hot, drained pumpkin pieces in a blender and puree them:

Note: You will probably get at least 3 bowls of pumpkin per carved pumpkin to cook, strain and puree like in the instructions above. I often am cooking one bowl while puree-ing another bowl.

Step 8:
Dump the puree into a fine strainer (the one shown is a little big, if you have one with smaller holes it is better).
Let sit for about 5 minutes (to drain off the excess water away from the pulp):

Final step:
You can use it right away (like you would canned pumpkin) for your recipes OR you can:

Measure the pulp into 2 1/2 cups to 3 cups each and freeze:

You can defrost these one at at time and use the pumpkin all the rest of the year for your pumpkin recipes.

When I take them out of the freezer, I let the water drain out of the pulp one last time before measuring the pumpkin for my recipes.

I promise you, that once you make your own pumpkin like this and use it in a recipe you will NEVER go back to using canned pumpkin.

The taste just cannot compare.


DJan said...

Wow! One more thing you do with your blog that I don't see much of anywhere else: teach cooking lessons and tips to conserve while making it even better than if you didn't do it! Thanks for this. I will save it until I have some pumpkin. Maybe I'll even go out and buy one just to make this!

Anonymous said...

I finally did this for the first time this year. Like you say you will never want to use canned pumpkin again it makes everything taste wonderful. The only thing I did wrong was to put it into small freezer bags then I put them into one big one. They all froze together. So you cool whip container is the way to go for sure.

Sharon said...

If a squirrel has taken a couple of nibbles out of the pumpkin, is it still ok???? I'm saving this post for next year!

The Retired One said...

Vickie: I know!!! Doesn't it taste FANTASTIC?? I will never use canned pumpkin again.

Sharon: Heck yes. Seriously. Just cut out the part of the pumpkin that was eaten and cook the rest. AS long as there is no mold on the pumpkin and it hasn't been frozen outside, you can use it. There are years we have been able to use our HALLOWEEN carved out jack o lantern too. We just carve out where the candle cooked part of the pumpkin and throw out any parts that have melted wax on them. It still works!

DJan: Once you try it, I know you will never go back to canned pumpkin because the fresh taste can't be beat. The pies are a little "softer" than the canned pumpkin but it is soooo good. It takes a bit of work, but you get quite a bit of frozen pumpkin so it is well worth it.

Ginnymo said...

Thanks for this great advice Joan! Although I will probably never buy a pumpkin. But maybe someday. We still don't have any snow but it's very windy today and they are expecting some up to the north a bit. Brrrr! It's coming!

Joanie M said...

What a terrific idea!

Eva Gallant said...

hmmm....may try this. Not big on pumpkin pie, but love pumpkin muffins!

RainGardener said...

What a great post - I love it! 'A cook I ain't' but I think I'll print out your instructions and do this next year. Thanks!

Brian Miller said...

hmm...will pass along the method to T...pumpkin bars would be very nice. now can you tell me something to do with all the leftover turkey?

A New England Life said...

Darned it all Joan, I never knew how to do that! Thanks mom! LOL!

I am throwing away pumpkins but they're the funky deco pumpkins I bought so I'm not sure how they would taste in a pie. Next year though (or if I see sugar pumpkins in the store) I'm giving this shot!



Bernie said...

Great idea, I have often thought about it but thought it would be a lot of work but have made it look easy.....thank you my friend...Luv ya, and have a wonderful weekend ...:-) Hugs

The Retired One said...

Bernie: You too...I am gearing up for our trip south!

New England: You are welcome! This year we used "field pumpkins" and they tasted great.

Brian: Now THAT is a tough one! Turkey soup, turkey sandwiches, turkey casserole..all that will be sleeping well. ha

RainGardener: I love to bake, but I am not a gourmet cook, so if I can do it, you can, I am sure!!

Eva: I LOVE pumpkin bars, pumpkin bread and pumpkin cookies....there are a million recipes on line, just put in "pumpkin recipes". I have always wanted to try pumpkin soup, but my husband wouldn't like to try it.

Joanie: Try it...I KNOW you will love it. Fresh pumpkin tastes so much better!!

Ginnymo: Try it. Just once. I bet you will love it. Then put in "pumpkin recipes" in on line and you will find a million recipes for pumpkin muffins, pumpkin bread, cake, etc. Yum!!

The Lucy and Dick Show said...

Yes, I never use canned anymore! Double duty decorations! Isn't that what they mean when they say going green?

Cathy Clementz said...

After that huge pie you made for Dan and me I have NO doubt that you invented this and use it faithfully! You are the Happy Hooker of da U.P!

The Retired One said...

Cathy: Ummm, did you mean the Happy Cooker or HOOKER???? Because I don't think anyone else knows I am the Happy HOOKER of the U.P. yet. hahaaa

Lucy and Dick: yay! another person who gets it!

Ratty said...

This is just excellent! Pumpkin is one of my favorite flavors. I always wondered how to do this stuff, even though I like that canned poop too. I never stopped to think that it would be so easy. Now I want to make real pumpkin pie. I'm excited about this, really!

SquirrelQueen said...

Fresh pumpkin is the only way to go, I don't like the canned at all any more. I hope everyone gives it a try.

The Retired One said...

SquirrelQueen: I hope so too. And it is so much healthier for you and has more fiber too! (Of course we will ignore the fact that I put it in sugary desserts like pumpkin cookies, etc.) ha

Ratty: I am so glad you are going to give it a try! The next time you have all that intimidating relatives around for next Thanksgiving, you will have to wow them with a homemade pie made out of fresh pumpkin. They will be impressed. ha

Charles Amico said...

Great photography. Loved the pics.

grannyann said...

Who'd of thought? Never heard that before.

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

I just pureed my first pumpkin last Sunday and made muffins. Froze enough for two more batches. Much easier than I expected, and delicious!

The Retired One said...

Blissed out Grandma: you are new to my blog, right? I am so glad you stopped by. I hope you join(ed) on as a that! Wasn't it a nice surprise when you tasted your first fresh pumpkin product? It just can't compare in taste to canned!

Charles: You are new to my blog, too!
Soooo glad you visited! I hope you, too join(ed) on as a Follower! That would be just great! Thanks so much for the nice compliment on my photography...I do a lot of nature photography on here, so I hope you visit again, and often!!

The Retired One said...

Grannyann: You learn something new every day, right? ha

Jientje said...

I8 often wondered about that. I'm miss do it muyself and I hate tinned and canned foods. This must really be so much better. Now I need to find a good pumpkin pie recipe.

This DVM's Wife's Life said...

Will you come and do all of mine? I love this idea but I am too lazy right now to try it. Sigh.
I think they will go to the cows and see if they will eat them. Since we are not allowed to feed deer down in the Lower Peninsula it seems such a waste.
Okay, maybe I will do a couple. I love pumpkin food!

Cher' Shots said...

Great Post! If the pumpkins aren't too big; I just poke them with a knife and bake like a squash. Then quarter it, gut it and peel the hide off. Then toss the meat of it in the food processor, place in quart size freezer bags and lie them flat for easy storage in the freezer. Works great. But I love your way for the big boys!

The Retired One said...

Cher: How long do you bake it and at what temp? Do you add water to the pan when you bake it? I assume you let it cool before quartering it? I would be interested in knowing more.

DVM's Wife: I feel the same way about decorating for Xmas. I did some today, but I feel too lazy to do we are leaving to go to Florida in two days so I just can't get into it here at home. ha

Jientje: I have a good pumpkin pie recipe if you want it. Let me know!

Joanna Jenkins said...

AWE-SOME post! now you know what I'll be doing tomorrow!!!! This is a great idea. Thanks a million.

The Retired One said...

Joanna: I hope you like it...I know once you taste fresh pumpkin, you will be so happy you did it!

Jientje said...

I'd love to have that pumpkin pie recipe, can you email irt to me?

The Retired One said...

Jientje: I am sending you a separate email with the recipe...but I am having trouble with our server and my out mail is backed should hopefully clear up and you should have your recipe by tomorrow. Good luck!

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I retired in June 2008 and started my blog in November 2008. I worked at several jobs as a Registered Nurse prior to retirement. I LOVE being retired! Blogging has offered me a whole new venue to start writing again and to share new hobbies such as gardening, birdwatching and sharing my nature photography. If you like my blog, PLEASE click on "follow this blog". Having a lot of followers reading my blog gives me incentive to continue to do photography and to continue to write. I also LOVE comments, so I encourage you to leave me a comment after you read my posts. Thanks everyone, for taking the time to read me!!

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