Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Pumpkin Shortage? HA!

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!


Anonymous said...

Nadine has left a new comment on your post "Pumpkin Shortage? HA!":

mmm...delicious! I cooked & froze my sugar pumpkins for the first time last year - so easy and it taste great! I still have a couple of bags left in the freezer! :)


Anonymous said...

Terri has left a new comment on your post "Pumpkin Shortage? HA!":

I agree that it's so much better to know where your food is coming from. Last year I had 12 good sized sugar pumpkins that I grew. This year, only 3 and they are baseball sized. I didn't think about using butternut squash as a substitute, but will for the future.

Anonymous said...

Mrs.Rabe has left a new comment on your post "Pumpkin Shortage? HA!":

Love this! I am going to buy some pumpkins locally, we have some Cinderella pumpkins growing and the girls get some at the end of season for free. I am going to cook them down to can also. I am so tired of not finding pumpkin year round.

Last year Wal-Mart told me that "it isn't pumpkin season yet." When I asked about the empty shelf! Crazy.

I agree about the nutrition and the manufacturing of products.

Anonymous said...

Rebecca has left a new comment on your post "Pumpkin Shortage? HA!":

I was So disappointed with our pumpkins this year. I have no idea what happened, but we wound up with only ONE medium pumpkin and a bunch of jack be littles. Really bizarre, as pumpkins are SUPER easy to grow. Oh well. Could be since I planted them outside the garden fence since I ran out of room...

Enjoy your pumpkins-and squash. THAT I have plenty of! :-)

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