Wednesday, September 8, 2010
I had a very difficult time last year finding canned pumpkin for pies, scones, muffins, pumpkin rolls, and cheesecakes, and I missed it. Desperately. I enjoy pumpkin- not only in the fall, but year round.
Sometime last winter I picked up Barbara Kingsolver's book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and it completely changed my way of thinking. Why did I just buy pumpkin from cans when fresh was readily available? Expense? Ease? Perhaps because that's the way I was raised?
The better educated I become on nutrition, the way commercial food is grown, and what's really in it, the more convinced I am that we need to know exactly who is raising our food. It's why we started a small flock of chickens in the spring, why we grew a garden larger than we ever have before, and why I became involved at the farmer's market this year. I'm now grinding grain for flour, and have a grass-fed cow reserved for the spring, from a man that we trust.
I've recently read that butternut squash can be readily substituted for pumpkin in baking, and I'm here to tell you that it's absolutely true. No one would ever know the difference. Just last Saturday I baked Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins for the market, and made sure to tell everyone that I had substituted butternut squash in them. Not one person cared, and they didn't taste any different than they usually do.
If you look at my Preparing for Winter list on my sidebar you'll notice that I've got quite a bit of squash frozen. Plenty to last me throughout the winter, in fact. Total cost? $9. Yes- NINE dollars. In my town, I could have bought 3-4 large cans of Libby's Pumpkin for that. No way is buying canned pumpkin cheaper. Did I mention that I saved the seeds so that I can grow the squash myself next year, or that we fed the pulp to the chickens? The only thing that wasn't used was the skin- which went into the compost pile.
I also bought one large pie pumpkin, and was given two smaller pumpkins. Collin and I cut them up today, and roasted them this afternoon. I have a roaster full of cooked pumpkin that is now being cooked down for Pumpkin Butter. Cost of that roaster full? $3. We fed the stringy pulp to the chickens again, and roasted the seeds. Three cups worth.
There's no pumpkin shortage here!