Tis the Season for Pumpkin

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”

-Anne of Green Gables, L.M.Montgomery

Assorted winter squash from Green Acres

The seasons, they are a-changing. After a splendid Harvest Moon last week, the transition into fall is in full swing. The changes are becoming apparent at the market as well. Yes, there are still plenty of peppers and tomatoes at the market. But, signs of fall are slowly creeping in. It started a few weeks ago with the appearance of the first butternut squash. This was followed closely by a wagon load of pumpkins and corn stalks. And pie pumpkins. And gourds. And plenty of fall squash – Delicata and Long Island Cheese just to name a few.

Check out all those pumpkins and corn stalks from Jason Poth Farms

The pumpkin has been around for centuries. It is of course most famous for gracing our tables at Thanksgiving as a pie. And the first pumpkin pies were made by slicing the top off of a pumpkin, removing the seeds, and filling the insides with milk, spices, and honey. The pumpkin was then baked in hot ashes. It sounds delicious to me! Now, of course, we have pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin spice Cheerios, pumpkin cream cheese…pretty much anything food manufacturers can put pumpkin into, they do.

If you are like me and enjoy to bake with pumpkin, there’s a more economical way to get your pumpkin puree than to buy it in the cans at the grocery store. Pick up a pumpkin at the market – Long Island Cheese is my pumpkin of choice. Once you get it home, admire it for a few days because it is beautiful! When you get the courage, cut it in half (or have your husband do it if you are prone to cutting yourself or have gotten stitches in the past for a cut from a…butter knife…). Scoop out the seeds and put them in a colander to rinse them off. You can roast the seeds, too!

A Long Island Cheese Pumpkin from my garden – also available at the market from The Vegetable Garden

Preheat your oven to 350. Lay the pumpkin halves cut side down on a baking sheet with some water as well. Pop it in the oven and keep an eye on it over the next hour or so. When the pumpkin starts to fall in on itself and you can easily pierce the skin with a fork, it’s ready to go. Place the baking pan on a cooling rack to cool. Once cool, scoop out the roasted meat of the pumpkin from the skin and whiz it up in your food processor or blender. Place it in a cheesecloth lined colander over the sink to let some of the water drain off – pumpkin has a lot of water! Once drained, measure out into freezer bags and freeze for future use. Or maybe whip up a batch of these . When I roasted a Long Island Cheese from my garden a few weeks ago, I got 7 cups of pumpkin! Take that Libby’s.

7 cups of pumpkin frozen in quart freezer bags. To get the bags to lay flat in your freezer, freeze the bags on a baking sheet first!

Pumpkin isn’t the only fall squash that deserves our attention. We are also fans of butternut around our house. My six year old is especially fond of this. Paired with a loaf of fresh bread and you have a rocking dinner. Delicata squash is another great fall squash. Cut it in half, scoop out the seeds, and stuff it with your favorite stuffing. Perhaps you like quinoa, cranberries, and pecans. Or maybe some sausage and kale. No peeling required and you can even get away with no dishes!

So, whether you are a pumpkin spice latte fanatic or a delicata squash lover, be sure to get out to the market and grab some. There are only three regular season markets left! Oh, but the great thing about all these wonderful squashes is their storage quality! Don’t want to use that delicata this week? Great! Toss it in your pantry and save it for a few weeks. See you on Sunday!

Author: heidinawrocki

Soap maker. Knitter. Farmers market junkie.

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