Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Pumpkins & pears
Did you know Albertson's (at least the one in Liberty Lake) gives away its leftover pumpkins FOR FREE after Halloween?!? I learned this as I drove by last week (and this was even on Nov. 2 and there were still some left!) and saw the big "free" sign in front of the pile. A quick call to Grandma - "Can you make pie from any kind of pumpkins?" "I think so" - and I backed the car up to the pile and filled the trunk with six of the biggest squash I could lift.
After two days of slicing & scooping & cooking & blending, I've preserved my way through 3 of the monsters, and have stashed the other three in the basement until I've the ambition to do the rest.
COOKED PUMPKIN GOO:
Slice it open, scoop out the guts.
Cut it into wedges, slice off the peel. (Peel? Rind? idon'tknow.) The hubs used the vegetable peeler for this, but I preferred to hack it off with a knife.
Cut it into smallish chunks and toss it in the slow cooker with a cup of water, cook on high until it's all mushy.
Drain it really, really well (like, smash it into the strainer with a heavy mixing bowl to squish out all the liquid, then let it sit to cool and finish draining).
Run the hand mixer through it until it's all smooth.
Scoop it into all those leftover cottage cheeses containers Grandma saves for you and freeze.
I may try to make soup with some of this, but probably it will all wind up as pie.
This was the first year we've gotten any pears off the tree in our yard, and they were sooo good. They confused me at first by not really getting soft on the tree, but once they fell to the ground, they turned so ripe and yummy. And then after it got really cold out, the fruit left on the tree was pretty good too. Not counting the dozens I ate fresh & put in my smoothies, we got an overflowing fruit-box full to preserve (maybe 25 lbs?).
Slice and core pears into chunks.
With a little bit of water, cook on the stovetop on low/med, stirring frequently, until mushy & cooked down.
Run it through the food mill.
I was expecting this to look like the applesauce I've been making for my apple butter practice batches, but it's way thinner. I could have boiled it down after the food mill to make it thicker, but it's just so damn GOOD like this - I was sipping on it while it was still hot from the stovetop and it's like this sweet, hot slurry and I think it will be amazing added to smoothies, desserts, or just as a hot drink in the winter. So I froze it in mason jars - the big boxful gave me 8 quarts of pear sauce.
PS ~ I love my Lily rabbit.