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Grand Rapids, Michigan, United States
Hello doll lovers! This blog was created to tell you about dolls I have made and classes I teach on doll making at Attic Window Quilt Shop in Comstock Park, Michigan (a suburb of Grand Rapids). My goal in teaching is to pass on the love of making heirloom quality dolls. Most of the dolls I make (and hold classes for) are designed by Gail Wilson - visit her website at www.gailwilsondesigns.com . Page down my blog for some fun doll links including antique doll sites and hard to find doll supplies.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

cooking pumpkins

OK, I heard back from the flying husband about where the camera cord was.  He said to use batteries. So, to test how long the batteries work, here's a little post about cooking pumpkins!  I need better lighting for dolls, so tomorrow in the daylight, I will try again with the batteries for pictures of Lottie in process. Thanks for your patience!

I heard on the news that there is going to be a canned pumpkin shortage this holiday season. No sweat as far as I'm concerned because I always cook my own.  Once in awhile, I hear some one explaining to some one else how to cook pumpkin (peeling and dicing, then straining, and mashing) and I think to myself, geesh, the long hard way to skin that cat!  So here is my easy method to cooking a pumpkin.

I start by selecting a pie pumpkin that feels heavy for it's size....so lift a few, see how they feel.  Yes, you can consider this your arm muscle workout for the day as long as you lift at least ten pumpkins with each arm.  I usually get three medium sized ones because I like to do a lot of holiday baking with pumpkin.  The one I cooked tonight yielded about three cups.  Once you get them home, leave them out in the cool front porch until you are ready to bake them. 

 Once you are ready to bake, wash the dirt off and knock off the stem if it won't fit in your oven; the rack should be situated so the pumpkin is about mid level in the oven. I set my pumpkin on a metal plate to catch any drips (and there may be some) and to protect the bottom of the pumpkin from burning. Set the oven to 300 - 325 degrees - depends on how long you want to wait. If you're in a hurry, you can go 350 degrees, but you may get a bit of brown in the bottom of your pumpkin.  Bake until your pumpkin starts to look like a slightly deflated basket ball.  Usually for me this is about an hour and a half to two hours  for 300 degrees and a bit less for 325 -350degrees.  Tonight I baked my pumpkin with a meatloaf and scalloped potatoes in the oven with it. Then after dinner came out of the oven, I lowered the temp and let it go a little longer. It should feel like a baked sweet potato when it is finished baking....which is a tad bit softer than a regular baked potato.  You can see in the picture above where I poked my finger thru to see if it was soft.



Once you pull it out of the oven, let it cool a bit and peel pack some of the skin.  Then with a spoon, scoop off the soft pumpkin flesh off the top, being careful to avoid the seeds and strings.  Once you get a nice sized hole to the seeds, then scoop out those and put them in a large colander. I prefer the plastic ones because the have larger holes that allow the strings to fall thru into the garbage disposer. The mesh ones keep the strings in the colander, making it harder to clean the seeds. 
 

After the seeds are out, you can easily pull off some skin from a side and knock out a side and scoop out the pumpkin. No need to mash it, it's already very soft and ready for your recipe.  I measure out what I know I will need for certain recipes: pumpkin pie needs 1 1/2 cups, pumpkin bread gets 1 cup, etc.  Then I put those measured amounts into a container for the freezer for later or in the fridge for tomorrow, or right into the recipe bowl.

I run the colander under water in the sink and toss the seeds around a bit until all the bits of strings are gone. Let the seeds drain a bit, then spread single layer on a cookie sheet and bake in a slow oven at 225 until they are nice and crispy. If you have a convection option, use it.  Baking seeds takes hours, so test here and there until you are happy with the crunch.  Once they come out of the oven, I like a touch of butter and some salt.  If they are going to the birds, I just leave them alone.  If you are not wanting to deal with the seeds, the blue jays will take them any way they can get them, just toss them out the door in a spot that it's ok to do this -  in view of a window, so you can watch the birds taking the seeds.

And the finished goods - pumpkin cranberry bread and toasted pumpkin seeds -  yum yum:


Enjoy your pumpkin and no worries about a canned pumpkin shortage this year!

2 comments:

  1. Thankyou Thankyou Julsie! I just purchased some pumpkins and now am sooo excited to try this!
    I had no idea the seeds took so long to bake!

    ♥Nan

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  2. I guess I like my seeds very crunchy, so they take about 4 hours to get very there and a bit golden brown. The convection feature speeds things up a bit, so if you do it in your regular oven, it might take longer at the really low temps. I tried usuing hotter oven, but then went back to 225 for the seeds. I forgot to mention you should stir them evey once in a while.

    They were so yummie, we ate them up within 24 hours!

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