From Pumpkin to Pie

All summer in my garden, I complained about this stupid squash plant that took more than its share of the garden. It was a couple squash plants, actually, and the vines tried to invade every other crops space. The somewhat-spiny stems and leaves were an annoyance, and, a little later in the summer, when squash beetles descended and started killing all the vines, I was more than a little annoyed. I put up with the massive plants because I had the expectation of harvesting a plethora of squash from it- after the bugs came, I got just one lonely squash. One. And it was kind of ugly.

It did help that it was pretty huge, and made an interesting decoration piece through the fall. It case you're interested, it was of the Queensland Blue variety. Visitors made comments like "Is it supposed to be that color?" and "Oh, is that real?". Great. I get just one squash and people think it's fake. Sigh.

Anyway, I saved the heavy, ugly squash, along with a couple pumpkins of different varieties given to me by a friend, for a total of 3 pumpkins/squashes to process for Thanksgiving pumpkin pies.

The "processing" took way longer than I expected, about 4 hours one Sunday morning. The pumpkins had thin rinds, and were easy to clean out, cut up, and get roasting in the oven. The taller pumpkin (middle of the picture) had seeds looking very much like what you expect pumpkin seeds to look like- white and mostly flat. Although it had a thin rind, it never cooked until soft, and the compost pile ended up with most of this pumpkin. I was disappointed.

The green-striped pumpkin on the right had flat, green, hull-less seeds and were the most delicious of the three after roasting. It cooked in a reasonable amount of time in the oven, and ended up having a very yellow flesh that was stringy like a spaghetti squash. After a whirl in the food processor with the rest of the cooked-pumpkin pulp, the stringyness wasn't a problem, and the yellow flesh blended with the rest of the orange from the squash.

Speaking of the squash: this was the star of my "pumpkin" puree project. Whie the other two had thin rinds, this squash had a LOT of flesh:

Its seeds were rounder than the typical pumpkin seed, but I decided to roast them anyway. The flesh was VERY orange- so much so that when I finally got the silly thing cut up, my hands were looking pretty orange, too.

The picture doesn't show all the chunks of pumpkin- at this point, I've put some through the food processor already, and there's more in the microwave softening. This process took a LONG time, mainly because the orange-skinned pumpkins were in the roasting pan in the oven, so I was having to try to soften the more solid chunks from the squash in my little microwave. As I got enough softened flesh to fill my food processor, I processed it and scooped it into 2-cup bags.

End of the day: 7 bags (14 cups) of pumpkin puree. Two for Thanksgiving, 5 for the freezer. I've threatened my brother-in-law with a pumpkin pie for his birthday in June. We'll see :)

And, in case you were wondering, the Thanksgiving pies were a huge hit.

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