Farm Life

Farm Life

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Preserving Our Prized Pumpkins

       My son loves to grow all varieties of pumpkins, and squash. He must take after me, because I think raising pumpkins is fun! He decided this year that he wanted to enter his prized produce into the Common Ground Fair. So, he babied them, guarded them from sneaky goats that licked their lips in anticipation, and injected the vines with milk. He hovered over them, and took note of any growth.            The day of judging finally came, and this mama couldn't help, but make the exhibition hall the first stop of the day at the fair. The tables were bursting, and overflowing with color. The purple of eggplants, and onions complimented the white of garlic. Orange carrots stood out near green peppers, and red tomatoes were a feast for the eyes. The assortment of grapes was a mouthwatering test of will power. And there it son's Polar Bear pumpkin. And right near his mammoth entry was a pumpkin quite larger. My heart sank, and I was sure that the other pumpkin would possess the prize. The judges were hard at work comparing one fruit to another. We went on our way, and tried to tuck our eagerness aside as we strolled the fair grounds. When judging was complete I was back at the exhibition hall in great anticipation. As I rounded the tables, I noticed that my thirteen year old son, had taken the first place ribbon for his Kakai pumpkin, his One Too Many pumpkin, his Strawberry popcorn, and his Polar Bear pumpkin!!! His pumpkin, although smaller, had been considered a better representation of that variety, and therefore was chosen to display a blue ribbon! He also placed second with some melons he entered. Needless to say, this mom was very proud, and he was excited with his prizes of gift certificates to Johnny's Selected Seeds.
My son's prize winning Polar Bear pumpkin.

First prize for Eben's One Too Many pie pumpkin.

          After the win at the fair we wanted to preserve the pumpkins. We don't believe in waste here on the farm, and so we wanted to cook the pumpkin, and have it available to us for eating this winter. Pumpkin soup is a favorite at my house, so I cut the pie pumpkin in half, and dug out the seeds. We then saved the seeds for planting next season. The next pumpkin I cook, we will salt, and bake the seeds for eating. I placed the halves into the oven on 350* for about 45 minutes. The oven time will vary for different sized pumpkins. When a fork could easily pierce the cooking pumpkin, I took it out of the oven, and scooped all of the meat out. I then pureed the pumpkin in the blender, and returned it to a pot where I added plenty of cream, and whole milk from our cows. Next, I added salt to taste. (You could also puree the pumpkin after adding the cream if you choose.)  Yummm! I simply left the soup to cool, and then poured the fall treat into freezer bags, being careful not to over fill them. I labeled them "pumpkin soup", so as not to confuse it with the plain pumpkin puree I plan to freeze as well. 

Pumpkin all cooked, and scooped from the skin.

Cooked pumpkin.

Running cooked pumpkin through the blender.

Pumpkin soup.

Yummm! Ready to eat!

          The reason that I made this into soup with all the cream, and milk added is because our milk, and cream is in abundant supply right now. This winter our cows will be dried off for calving season, and we will not have a generous amount of milk. This soup is ready to heat, and serve. I will freeze plain pumpkin for baking cookies, and other goodies. 

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