The shape isn’t perfect – it never is. It’s rather flat on one side since that’s the way it laid on the ground while it grew. Its shape adds character. At least, one can imagine that it does.
Washed and then dried, it sits on the kitchen table awaiting its demise. Or, perhaps, its re-creation would be a better word to describe what is about to happen. The children run in to help. One draws the eyes. The other draws a nose and a mouth. Then the carving begins.
Dad sticks the big, sharp butcher’s knife into the top and proceeds to carve a substantial opening. Having forced the carved lid loose from its body, he hands it to me. I’m ready with a large pot, a cutting board and a sharp knife handy.
On the cutting board, I slice off a thick layer of the flesh, handing the outer skin and stem, which makes a good handle, back to Dad. There’s still lots of lid remaining. I chop the flesh from inside the lid and toss it into the pot.
Dad scoops out the innards: seeds and pulp. Shrieking in choruses of “yuck” and other expletives, the kids are not amused. He dumps the innards into a bowl and hands it to me. While he carves the facial features, I wash and separate the seeds from the pulp. I lay the seeds out on towels to dry; the rind/pulp will find its way to the compost to nourish the garden come spring.
I pat the seeds dry and return most of them to the bowl that has been rinsed clean and dried. I toss the seeds with extra light olive oil (just enough to moisten the seeds) and garlic powder (to taste). Toasted in a slow oven (300 C), these seeds will make a healthy, munchy snack with good fiber content!
The remaining seeds will be used next spring to start another crop.
Meanwhile, the pieces cut from the face are ready to peel, chop and add to the pot. Dad also cuts a large chunk from the back, amidst protests from the children. “No one sees the back,” he points out.
Peeled and chopped, I cover the pumpkin pieces with water and place the pot on the stove to bring to a boil; it doesn’t take long to cook. Once I can pierce it easily with a fork, I remove it from the stove, drain it and mash it.
Now it’s ready for everyone’s favorite pumpkin pie. Or how about pumpkin muffins?
Pumpkin Pie Recipe
- 1 prepared, uncooked pie shell
- 1 cup cooked, puréed pumpkin
- 1 cup liquid honey
- 3 eggs
- ¾ cup rice milk (other types of milk may also be used)
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 pinch ground cloves
- 1 pinch salt
- In a large mixing bowl, mix together all of the ingredients (except for the pie shell), stirring well.
- Pour into prepared pie shell
- Bake in a pre-heated 350 F oven for 50 to 60 minutes or until the top is lightly browned.
- Serve hot or cold; serves six people.
Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins Recipe
- ½ cup extra light olive oil
- ¾ cup liquid honey
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup cooked, puréed pumpkin
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ tsp. cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon ginger
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- In a large mixing bowl, mix together all of the ingredients, stirring well.
- Spoon batter into lined or greased muffin tins.
- Bake in pre-heated 350 F oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until the top is lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the middle of muffins comes out clean. Serve hot or cold. Makes 8 large muffins.
Today’s post is brought to you by award-winning author and artist, Emily-Jane Hills Orford. When this author isn’t writing, creating collage paintings, working on her needlework or composing, you’ll find her in the garden. Even in the winter, gardening is not far from her thoughts as she plans and prepares for the next season and the next growing adventure. Using pressed flowers from her garden, this author/artist/composer, is gardening indoors with multi-faceted garden ideas re-created on canvas.