Pumpkin!..(Cucurbita moschata, Cucurbita maxima, Cucurbita pepo)

Posted by on Nov 22, 2013 in Blog, Frontpage | Comments Off

Pumpkin!..(Cucurbita moschata, Cucurbita maxima, Cucurbita pepo)

Pumpkin, squash or Calabasas known by many names or by their varietals comes in many sizes from the Atlantic Giant at 400 – 500 lbs to the Jack-be-Little Pumpkin that sits in the palm of your hand.  They have been cultivated over the decades for one of two reasons, carving or eating.  Truth be told all varieties can be eaten, almost all the parts of the pumpkin plant; fruit, leaves, flowers and seeds, are edible.

Howden Pumpkin is one of the best pumpkins for Halloween carving! This is what you see in every grocery store. They are big, 10 – 15 pound pumpkins that are bright orange, with defined ribbing, and solid handles.  These are excellent for carving and the seeds are great for roasting.

Recently a good friend of mine was given a “carving pumpkin” well she had absolutely no intention to do any carving, but wanted to make soup. I generously offered to do this for her assuming that it would be the same as cooking regular pumpkin. Surprise! It was not! After cutting and scooping the seeds, I quickly realized that they were more fibrous; enabling them to hold more water in the flesh unlike regular pumpkin.  With the size of the pumpkin, after roasting, I ended up with a lot of rough puree of which I froze some for another day; it was good, but tasted pretty much like canned pumpkin.

Remember going to the pumpkin patch with your kids and choosing pumpkin can be great; just remember to pick up an extra one to make some soup or pie to enjoy. The seeds can be roasted and left over puree can be frozen and used in your favorite pumpkin recipes!pie

Homemade Pumpkin Pie

2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour, 1 tsp salt, 1 cup shortening

1/2 cup cold water, 2 cups mashed, cooked pumpkin

1 can evaporated milk, 2 eggs, beaten, 3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ground ginger, 1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp salt

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

2. Prepare pie crust by mixing together the flour and salt. Cut shortening into flour; add 1 tablespoon water to mixture at a time. Mix dough and repeat until dough is moist enough to hold together.

3. with lightly floured hands shape dough into a ball. On a lightly floured board roll dough out to 1/8 inch thickness. With a sharp knife, cut dough 1 1/2 inch larger than the upside down 8 to 9 inch pie pan. Gently roll the dough around the rolling pin and transfer it right side up on to the pie pan. Unroll; ease dough into the bottom of the pie pan.

4.In a large bowl with mixer speed on medium, beat pumpkin with evaporated milk, eggs, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt. Mix well. Pour into a prepared crust. Bake 40 minutes or until when a knife is inserted 1 inch from the edge comes out clean.