Friday, April 18, 2008

Cheaper than canned pumpkin

When I was first thinking about doing this post I thought maybe I should wait until harvest time as that is the usual time to be thinking about pumpkins and squash, but then I realized that this is a good time to post about this because this is planting time. The time when we decide what we hope to be harvesting in a couple of months.

I just thought that at this time it might be good to put in a little recommendation for planting winter squash (or pumpkins if you prefer). Winter squash are very good for you! Check out this link. Squash are also great for storing so you can eat them all winter long with no need of canning or freezing. (I believe that would be why they are called winter squash.) They are also I believe pretty easy to grow. I will tell you though, I have never actually had them in my own garden. My parents grow them by the hundreds (perhaps I am exaggerating, but not by much) and they are willing to share so I get mine that way. And even if you don't like eating them plain or with butter and brown sugar (which I don't, they make me want to gag) there are oodles of other ways to use them. Here are some of the ways that I have discovered that I like to use squash:
  • "Pumpkin" pie
  • Yeast bread
  • Quick bread or muffins (not just pumpkin bread or muffins either)
  • Pancakes
  • "Pumpkin Bars"
  • "Pumpkin" desserts
  • Small amounts that have been pureed in soups, casseroles, meatloaf,spaghetti sauce, etc.
  • Chocolate cake (very moist and yummy!)

You can just get creative and stick it in anything where you think it won't be to obvious (unless perhaps you want it to be obvious. I know many people love to eat it just plain.). I love the idea that I am able to add some extra very good for you (and for us free) food in much of what I make.

Most pumpkin recipes that you find lately will call for a 15 oz. can of pumpkin but It truly doesn't need to come out of a can. You can start with a pumpkin or a squash like above. There are a couple of different ways that I know of to prepare them. You can cut it in half or smaller pieces and put it in a pan with a little water and either cook it slowly on the stove top or in the oven. (Take the seeds out and discard or save to plant next year or clean and roast them for a yummy treat.)

My favorite way however is to just wash the outside, set it in a pan with a little water in the bottom and stick it in the oven during a baking time. (I like to bake a lot at a time and so when I am doing bread, dessert and whatever else the squash can be in there as well.) I bake it until it is nice and soft on the outside.

After it cools I cut it in half and scoop out the seeds with a spoon and put them in my compost. Then I scoop out the orange flesh to use in my cooking.

I have discovered that if I want to put squash in many things it is nice to have it very smooth first. So I have been using my hand held blender to make it into a puree. I then will keep a container of squash in the fridge to always have ready to use and the rest I will put in the freezer in containers. It is quite simple, cheap and very good for you.

For more Frugal Friday tips visit Biblical Womanhood.


Angie said...

I have never tried to use pumplin like this before but I just might now. I love pumpkin desserts and they arfe good for you! At least except the sugar. LOL anyway thanks for this on your blog. I saw you do it so now I have it in writting so maybe I can try it now. Thanks

Teresa @ A Life At Home said...

I hadn't thought of this either. Thanks for the tip.

Paul & Angela Jenkins said...

I bake my pumpkins and freeze them like you and just discovered a wonderful pumpkin cobbler recipe that my family loves.

Anonymous said...

In Australia we eat pumpkin as a vegetable and we grow grey-skinned pumpkins that are orange inside.

We roast pumpkin with a baked dinner, cook it in a risotto, or make pumpkin soup (the soup is pureed) and some people like it mashed with salt and pepper and butter, with or without potato mixed in.

Queensland is famous for pumpkin scones and they are eaten with sweet toppings.



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