Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Embracing fall: step 1--Pumpkins

Fall is my second to least favorite season for a few reasons: summer ends, it gets cold, it gets darker, the days get shorter, and worst of all, it means winter is coming. I typically hole up during fall and dread the winter to come, but I decided to enjoy fall for its positive traits this year as much as I can.

This, of course, started with apple picking.... leading to a ton of apple butter, which I successfully (I hope) canned for the first time ever. Then, I bought two pumpkins which I tackled Friday night.

I stuck the pumpkins in the oven for 10-15 minutes to make them soft enough to cut. I cut off the tops, removed the seeds and stringy stuff,  cut them into about 8 pieces each, and put them back in the oven to soften some more. Then I removed the skin with a knife and chopped up the pumpkin. I washed the seeds and left them to dry overnight. This took about two hours total and left me with a sore wrist. So, question one to my limited readers (maybe more in the future): is there a better way to do this!? 

My collection of pumpkin goods
(well, just the pumpkin seeds and bread)
After chopping the pumpkins, I saved some of the cubes in the fridge for later (soup maybe?) and put the rest of them in the crock pot in a decent amount of water with one secret ingredient (a chai tea bag). I let them "cook" on warm overnight before pureeing them with my hand blender. 1/3 of the puree went toward pumpkin chocolate chip bread, and 2/3 went toward pumpkin butter. Sadly, canning pumpkin butter is not an option unless you have industrial canning equipment (is that just an autoclave? not that I'm going to use an autoclave on my pumpkin butter, I'm just curious), so I can't share any, but I have a nice stash in my freezer. I tossed the dry pumpkin seeds in olive oil, added a dash of cayenne pepper and a dash of garlic salt, and then I thoroughly salted them with sea salt before putting them in the oven. Luckily, I didn't burn them this year like I did last year!

Here are the recipes I used (please note that especially the pumpkin butter is more of a guessing game than a recipe):

Blog is up and running!

After about six months of brainstorming a name for my blog, and about eight hours making the banner out of individual pictures (a bobbin, basil, and a pot of sauce). Anyway, I'll document my domestic pursuits (sewing, cooking, gardening, and more) here.