Of all the pies around I will say that pumpkin is my all-time favorite. Now, I’m not talking about a pumpkin pie made from canned pumpkin either. Better be fresh or out with the rest!
Nothing beats a fresh pumpkin pie, NOTHING. I’ve had many friends doubt this, but after they try this pie, they always change their tune. The texture and flavor is unbeatable. I recall many late nights in my mother’s kitchen working on batches of pumpkin puree with my mother. The entire kitchen would be covered with puree, pots, pans, freezer bags, spoons…it was quite the sight. I never really knew the difference until I had a pie at a friend’s house that wasn’t the REAL thing. As I say now, “Think outside of the can.”
Some years dad grows his own French pumpkins, but the years he doesn’t, I always purchase local pumpkins at the farmers market from growers I know. Talk to your farmers and learn the different varieties they are growing and ask them what would be best for processing for puree. Cinderellas, sugars “also called pie pumpkins” and the French pumpkins have the best flavor.
My mother’s recipe is very easy to follow and was whipped up years ago when my parents first married. I have provided the recipe along with the steps of “How to Process a Pumpkin.” It may seem like a lot of work to process your own fresh pumpkin, but it’s really not that difficult and worth the mess. Give it a try, I know you will be suprized how simple it really is.
Just think, you will have your own fresh pumpkin to cook with for pumpkin muffins, soups, pies and my favorite – pumpkin bread! Plus, pumpkin is very nutritional. It’s low in saturated fat, and in cholesterol and sodium. And, if you have wee ones in your house, don’t forget that pumpkin puree makes an excellent baby food puree. My baby Cora enjoys it for breakfast with a dash of cinnamon and a little oatmeal.
Mom’s Pumpkin Pie
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Ginger
1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
1 1/2 C. Sugar
1 1/2 C. Fresh Pumpkin (key to making this pie the best it can be)
2 C. milk (1, 5 oz can of evaporated milk fill rest with milk)
Mix well. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, then turn oven down to 350 degrees. It will be done when you can insert a knife into the pie and the knife comes out clean.
How to Process Pumpkins
Split the pumpkin in half, remove all seeds and strings. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Take the pumpkin halves and place in a large cake pan. Place pumpkin pulp-side down into the pan. Add 2 cups of water to pan. Bake the pumpkin for about 1 hour in the oven. You will know when the pumpkin is ready by pushing on the skin and it feels soft to the touch. If the pumpkin is still hard, let it remain in the oven for another 20 minutes.
After you have your pumpkin cooked, remove all the pulp and place in large bowl. With a blender add 1 cup at a time, along with 1/4 cup of water. Puree into a smooth mixture.
Let the pumpkin cool, add to freezer bags and freeze flat. I like to place 2 cups or 1 1/2 cups of pumpkin in each bag.
Ever sampled Missouri pecans before? If not, you don’t know what your missing out on. Missouri pecans are smaller than the traditional Southern Pecans that most of us are used to. Smaller yes, but BIG on taste.
Missouri pecans are typically sweeter than most. I like to say it’s because of the blessed soil and loving hands that tend to the soil that make the nuts tasty. But in fact, Missouri pecans are extra special because of the cooler climate and shorter growing season.
You can find Missouri pecans at a few of the local farmers markets, local food stores such as Homegrown Food and Mama Jean’s and even on the shelves at Hy-Vee and a few of the other grocery stores in and about 417 land.
If you really want to learn more about Missouri pecans and meet some of your own local growers, check out the Missouri Northern Pecan Growers site. The Kimmell family are growers up by Nevada that help to harvest and distribute the product throughout the state and nation. Give Drew a call, he will hook you up for the holidays.
Here is a special pecan recipe that is always part of my Christmas basket that I prepare for neighbors, friends and business associates. Check that the water is very cold and the egg white is room temperature to ensure the mixture becomes frothy. This is a great sampler for any upcoming New Year’s Eve parties you might be throwing this year too.
But, don’t forget to Buy Local when it comes to your ingredients!
1 egg white
1 teaspoon cold water
4 C. (1 lb.) pecans
½ C. sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
Beat egg white and cold water until frothy. Mix with pecans until coated well. Mix sugar, salt, cinnamon in a paper in a paper bag. Shake pecans until all the sugar is used.
Bake at 225 degrees on a baking sheet for 1 hour. Turn pecans every 15 minutes. Cool and store.