Thursday, November 18, 2010

Getting a Pumpkin ready for pie!

I posted earlier about various winter squash, including two Muscat de Provençe I bought specifically because they are said to make the very best pumpkin pie. Now, it's time to cook one of those and make a pumpkin purée for pies. I also intend to save the seeds from both so I can grow some next summer.

The squash was surprisingly easy to cut. I guess I was expecting something as hard as a Hubbard squash and might need an ax. The flesh is quite thick except on the very bottom, at least in this particular squash. (I probably won't cut into the other one until after the Christmas and New Year holidays.) 

The seed cavity cleaned out easily, and the seeds separated from the pulp nicely. I noticed several things in cutting and peeling: the skin has to be thickly peeled in order not to leave green flesh and the squash should be cut along the grooves since it is so deeply lobed. Also, when I cubed the flesh to cook, I didn't see any sign of stringiness.

Here's the seeds from the first half, drying to store until spring planting. There were actually more seeds in the other half, must have been how the squash grew.

I peeled, cubed and cooked only half the squash at a time, boiled on top of the stove. Normally I prefer to bake squash, but our oven is broken. I'm impressed with how vividly orange the flesh is after cooking! In fact, there was so much beta carotene that my white spatula is now permanently golden yellow on the lower half!

The flesh gets run through my grandmother's ricer, then measured and packed in freezer containers until I'm ready to make pumpkin pies. 

A close-up of the pestle in my grandmother's ricer. You can still buy these ricers but the pestle in newer ones is not cone shape; rather, it's a long cylinder with a rounded end. Doesn't get in the bottom of the cone-shaped ricer very well.

After I had pushed about a third of the pumpkin through the mill, I realized there were no strings, just a few fleshy tube-like pieces; reminded me a little bit of spaghetti squash. So, I didn't run all the squash through the ricer since there was nothing to screen out. 

However, after it was all well-mashed and put into freezer containers, it was still a little watery... so I put it all back in the ricer and let it drain for about half an hour before re-packaging. One half of the Muscat de Provençe squash made 2 containers of 2 cups each pumpkin purée for pies, or whatever else strikes my fancy. The other half of the squash was peeled, cooked, cooled and frozen in containers of 2 cups of chunks, just in case I don't want a purée later.

I'm looking forward to pie day!


  1. This reminds me of my own 'getting the pumpkin ready for pie' this year. I grew a lovely Jarradale pumpkin that looked alot like yours and it made scrumptious pies. I have also been making pumpkin waffles with some of it. I froze some for later. Just hope I remember that its out there (in the freezer) Pumpkin is really good for dogs, so he gets some, too.

  2. You are right, your Jarrahdale pumpkin does look like mine.

    My second one like this, stored in the root cellar has already perished although they are supposed to keep well. I'm wondering if the grower didn't cure it properly? My other winter squash are fine, so it's not the root cellar.


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