Tales from the produce auction – pumpkins

 

I wrote this post a few months ago, got distracted, and never actually posted it.  Now that the weather is turning cooler, I am thinking ahead to pumpkins.  It seemed like the appropriate time to post this and reminisce about last year. 

Also, before I forget to mention it, not all pumpkins are created equal.  The regular pumpkins you see at the store may be great for jack-o-lanterns but are too watery and bland for baking with.  That is for another day, but I did want to mention it.

At the produce auction this past fall, I was able to get a large bin of pumpkins (usually about 60 pumpkins, of the size I got, per bin) for $.25 per pumpkin.  It was the end of the auction, there had been a large supply of pumpkins that day and everyone else had either already reached their quota or had no room to take them.  No one was bidding on these pumpkins; they weren’t even paying attention to the auctioneer.  Out of a last ditch effort, the auctioneer looked at me across the room and said, “$.25”.  I hadn’t looked at them, but knew what the rest of the pumpkins had looked like and so I said, “Yes.”  That worked out well as some other people had wanted them but not that many.  I sold a few to others there, gave a few away, and brought the rest home.  I actually had to go back as I couldn’t fit them all in my car.  Some were placed out at the stand, a few were given away on the way home, and the rest were cooked down and frozen.  I didn’t think I could use 50 cups of pumpkin puree, as we had never eaten pumpkin in all our years of being married.  However, after I had sold a few at the auction (for the price I paid) and a few on the stand, the rest were free for me.  Free is my favorite price.

Turns out, I have been able to use more of the pureed pumpkin than I though.  We have used it in shakes, to make muffins and to make bread.  There is still some in the freezer, but I will definantly put up more this year if I can get a good price on it.  With the drought, and it being the beginning of pumpkin season here, I’m not sure what the harvest and prices will look like at this time.  As this is not something that we all ‘love and can’t live without’, I am not worried about whether we will get it this year or not.

One thing I was glad to learn last year, is that it is not hard to process pumpkins. (This link has been causing me some issues. If you have the same issue, check out The Prairie Homestead and follow her directions; they are basically the same.) It was a sort of slow activity, though.  The length of time was due to the fact that my oven can only hold so many pumpkins at once.

I wish I had pictures to show you the process.  If given the opportunity this year, I will do so.  Until then, you will just have to take my word, and those of other commenters at the link, that it is super, super easy.

A baking sheet under it is a must for me, as it otherwise gets too soft and goes through the grates.  That was Lesson #1 that I learned the hard way.

As to the ‘too soft’ part, that is what makes it so great and so easy.  You do not have to fight a knife and gain huge arm muscles while cutting into the pumpkin.  It literally slices easier than butter.

One thing that I have not had good luck with is saving the seeds.  It just seems like more effort than it is worth to get them out of the strings.  Perhaps you have had a different experience.  If so, please tell me how you did it.

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