Sunday, January 17, 2010


It seems shameful to talk about food when so many are suffering (very disturbing 60 Minutes this evening). I'm not sure what my choices are, but I know with The Boys running around, life does go on. Albeit, a bit more slowly. A bit more anxiously. A bit more gratefully.

The Great Pumpkin Experiment of Aught Nine falls into the grateful category, for sure. I harvested so many beautiful pumpkins from our back yard garden. In fact, as I'm going through seed catalogues in an attempt to switch over to heirloom seeds and starts for this spring, pumpkins have made my short-list of must haves. It's so silly, because my garden plots are so tiny. Last fall, the pumpkins had taken over much of the yard! Over the raised patio, around the kids' pool, almost all the way to the matter. They made me giddy-happy, and now that I've had the experience of actually harvesting, processing, and cooking with them, well, the deal is sealed.
I had only one pumpkin start in June, and it produced eight or so beautiful pumpkins. Plus four more that never had a chance (broken vines, raccoon attacks, etc.). It turns out that a dozen or so pumpkins is a lot of pumpkin. I'll probably plant two or three this year, though. They grew well, and they are very forgiving. To wit? Since harvesting the pumpkins back in late October, I've kept them in the cool garage. That's it! I only lost one, which had a soft-spot on the bottom. It went into the compost pile, but everything else has been smashing. Smashing pumpkins. haha! Nineties rock humor!

My cousin had already warned me that 'pie pumpkins' were different than jack-o-lantern pumpkins, so I wasn't sure what to expect. I have used my pumpkins for breads and muffins, and there have been no complaints...on the contrary, I get rave reviews for the goodies! So, no pie. But good eating!

I used the information from Pick Your Own Dot Org, but I was able to pull in a pumpkin or two at a time, process them, do some baking within the next day or two, and start all over again. That means that I didn't have to freeze anything.

In this picture, the bigger bowl has a batter for muffins; the smaller bowl is the pumpkin puree I made. Each pumpkin produced between 5 and 6 cups of the puree. Which means, with the three pumpkins I used already, I've made about 100 muffins and a half dozen loaves of pumpkin bread. Now, my boys can put a dent in a dozen muffins, no doubt, but most of the muffins were immediately carted off to my work (and a few dozen were gifted at Christmas time, too!). I brought in a couple dozen for my colleagues to eat while we have been working on a Big Project, and I also sent each person home with two to three dozen and some loaves. Two of the people I work with are on very tight budgets, with lots of mouths to feed, so I'm happy to pass along the bounty from my calabasas.

It's funny...they have been raving about the muffins and breads, but I had my very first muffin just this morning from this third batch that I worked on from last night. I can confirm: delicious.


  1. Mia, aren't seeds seductive? Even though one pumpkin plant produced a lot, you are thinking about two this yea. I predict you will look at the heirloom varieties and have a hard time stopping at two!

    I don't even really like harvesting vegetables, and I have horrible results with seeds, but the seed catalogs get me excited and pretty soon I have lost good sense!

  2. Mia, I will concede mi esposa has lost good "cents" when it comes to seeds. Moose

  3. Wish I had a pumpkin muffin right now:)

  4. we have harvested our pumpkin sees, long ago now, for next year I love making the pumpkin puree, we use it in dog treats, muffins, pies, bread. yum..the garden...I'm so jealous of your climate!

  5. Kelly and Moose ~ hmmmmm...this Master Gardener situation, it doesn't look good for this issue! I predict a further reduction in 'cents'. :)

    Betty ~ I wish I could make pumpkin muffins for you, and eat them together over tea. Someday!

    Brit ~ oh. Smart. We roasted the seeds and ate them. We are pigs. Will reserve some in the remaining three pumpkins, which I will need to process this week.