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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Pumpkin Guts & Mommy Dogs

Tis the season, for Pumpkins!! As I was grocery shopping the other day
I thought I should stock up on pumpkin for all the yummy pumpkin baking that I do every year.  I love to make pumpkin pie, pumpkin rolls, pumpkin bars, pumpkin cookies--anything with pumpkin and cream cheese frosting makes it seem like fall! 

Yes, I could have done it the easy way and bought cans of pumpkin.  All the hard work is done for you, and put in those cans so they are ready when you are-- but, what is the fun in that?  Plus, when you do make pumpkin puree yourself, it does taste so much better and is cheaper.  Also, you can whip up baby food while you are at it, if you have an infant at your house.  I have had a couple people ask how it's done--so, although there is more than one way to skin a pumpkin, I will tell you the way I have found is the easiest.
I purchase a pie pumpkin, which are marked that way in grocery stores--and you will know them because they are much smaller than the traditional jack-o-lantern pumpkins.  However, if you get the wrong kind of pumpkin--it is not that big of a deal.  I used Jack-o-Lantern pumpkins last year.  This year I used 3 pie pumpkins at $2 a piece.

I cut the pumpkins in half- this is a tedious task because I am always afraid I am going to cut off a finger :(.  Some people cut theirs in pieces--but that is just way too much cutting in  my opinion, why higher your risk for lost appendages?  You cover the pumpkin halves with aluminum foil, and place them in the oven at about 350 for about an hour or so.  You want them to be tender enough so the "guts" scrape right out and away from the skin.  You may also choose to sprinkle cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice or pumpkin spice inside the halves before you put them in the oven.  This is not necessarily for taste reasons, but it makes your house smell so yummy.

After the pumpkins are baked, carefully take them out of the oven, and while they are still hot--use a potholder and hang on to them as you scoop out the insides.  I left the other pieces in the oven until I was ready to scrape those also.

Then you will simply place the pieces of, "guts," into your food processor or blender even--and blend until it looks like baby food.  The puree will be much lighter than the can-version, so don't be alarmed.  I think all their additives make it darker?   Then you will need to pour or scoop the puree into a storage container.  I have found that the quart ziploc bags work the best-because they hold exactly 2 cups, which is about how much is in a can of pumpkin puree at the store.  Lay them flat so they freeze nicely.  I did not have quart ziplocs when I made this batch, so I used gallon bags.  It worked fine, I will just have to measure as I go.

My 3 pie pumpkins made approx 1/2 gallon each- I put them into 3 bags, so they would lay flat and freeze well.  I only froze 2, because I plan on making something pumpkin this week yet!  Also, it works nicely if you have a 2nd person holding the bag as you fill them.  My husband did that for me last year--but this year he wasn't here--and I missed that extra help.

The same day, I must have been in the Halloween mood--because I also made the kids mummy hot dogs.  It's very simple to do--and takes very little time.  You purchase pizza dough in a can, and unroll it.  Cut off thin strips of the dough--and roll it between your hands so it creates a "snake."  Then wrap the hot dog like a mummy, leaving space for his face to peek out.  Bake at 350 until the dough looks golden brown on the edges.  I added mustard-eyes and a ketchup-smile.  The kids loved them, but since they had no idea what a, "mummy," was--they called them, "mommy-dogs."  So, apparently, I must walk around the house wrapped in pizza dough?

Pardon the 3rd Mummy who looks as if he is coming, "unraveled."


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