October 12, 2007

Eating Local during the Winter

This summer I joined up with Liz and many others as we tried to support our local farmers and incorporate more of their foods into our daily meals. I wasn't as gung ho about it as some, but I did add more fresh fruits and veggies to my plate. Let me tell you, it's habit forming. You get used to sharing food, tips and recipes with friends, neighbors and where I live, coworkers.

So when one of the Hubby's coworkers was passing out free pumpkins, I jumped at the deal. She gave us three beauties, which I had big plans for cooking up and freezing to enjoy in the coming cold stretch.

First I halved all the pumpkins, they were smallish-a little smaller than the size of a basketball, and clean out all the seeds.

Next, I cooked them cut side down in a enamel roasting pan at 375 F until tender about one hour. The less flesh inside the pumpkin the less time you need to bake it. My most meaty pumpkin took 1 hour 15 minutes.

Then you simply scoop out the edible parts with a large spoon directly in to your blending machine of choice. I love my Cuisinart for this job. The seeds, and shells can get thrown into you compost pile. If you don't have a compost pile, just throw them into the woods more than 20 feet from the house. My parents live in the suburbs on a 1/2 acre lot and they do this. They have no issue with rats, raccoons, squirrels or any other pests.

This reminds me a lot of how we make sweet potato souffle.

Blend forever, or until smooth. Gosh, I can smell pumpkins from this!

Once blended, pour into baggies, or containers of your choice. I have used non-freezer, store-brand ziplocks for this and have no issues. The main goal is to get as much air out as you can. If you are freezing a lot of produce, a vaccum sealer/foodsaver may be a wise investment. Alternatively, if you have a pressure canner, you can bottle/can the pumpkin puree.

Then pull out later to enjoy in your pies, breads, muffins and anything else you can think of! Tomorrow more local foods!

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