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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Pumpkins- A Garden Bonus

We didn't plant a single pumpkin.
We ended up harvesting about 20 pumpkins.
They come up so easily from the compost and grow so lustily that I haven't the heart to pull them out, well not the peripheral ones anyway.
I'm guessing they are QLD Blues, especially judging by the tough skin.
On the up side they keep so well but they really are a challenge to cut.
I know some who make the initial cut with a tomahawk or axe.
As a retailer of housewares for many years, I have seen some of the worst abuse perpetrated by people upon their kitchen knives. If you must attempt to cut your pumpkin with your kitchen knife, make sure it is a cooks knife and nothing smaller. DO NOT twist or be tempted to even slightly move the blade sideways, the blade is forged steel and it will snap. After making the first couple of inches incision, it will become almost impossible to cut further so use a wooden spatula as a wedge and insert it into the cut to hold the edges apart allowing the knife to cut further and keep working knife and wedge patiently around until you have fully cut through.
I now have some pumpkin soup made and frozen in portions ready for me to grab for lunches.
The skin was so tough I decided not to fight it and after cutting the pumpkin into natural crescent wedges, I simply brushed with oil and roasted on a tray in the oven.
Once they were softened, I could then more easily remove the skin and add it to the sauteed onions, garlic and chillies and cover with water. After simmering a bit longer I blended it all smooth and added......
NOTHING,
The caramelised onion and roasted pumpkin flavour does not need any additional stock flavouring etc.
It's just pure glorious flavours. Doesn't get any cheaper than this and you save a fortune by not needing to buy lunches. If you keep soup in the freezer you are never caught on the hop.

Pumpkin goes well with black pepper, nutmeg, cous cous, sweet caramelised onions, honey, feta....
My favourite is nutty chickpeas with their beautiful texture contrast.
So along with the pumpkin I have cooked a huge pile of chickpeas for putting into the soup after its finished or for mixing with roasted pumpkin cubes and baby spinach, dressed with a honey chilli dressing and a sprinkle of sesame seeds (excellent Vit A, calcium, iron, folic acid and protein. a complete meal)
First soak the chickpeas in plenty of water for at least four hours.
Drain and cover again with plenty of fresh water.
Simmer for about 10 mins, there will be lots of froth.
Drain and rinse completely.
Cover with more water (yes this is the third lot of water)
and cook until tender. When I drain, I rinse again.
You could also try using a pinch of asafatida powder to the final cook as chickpeas are known to cause flatulence.

4 comments:

  1. As you get older, you care less about flatulence. Keep a check on my blog for ongoing pumpkin recipes. i have been researching and have some humdingers for you. I much prefer my pumpkin roasted for soup...it makes it so sweet and concentrates the flavour.

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  2. Glorious pumpkins..they do look like Qld blue! I think that roasting them is a great idea to avoid having to peel them. As they sit there through winter they seem to keep maturing..the last ones will probably be a lot easier to cut and peel.

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  3. What a great surprise! I love the blue pumpkins--hoping to grow some this year . . . intentionally! dad brought some seeds for "heirloom" pumpkins. now i just need to figure out where to plant them.

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  4. Hey Tanya, what a harvest you had, wonderful............

    I love pumpkin, unfortunately we don't seem to have much success with them.

    Glad they taste nice, nothing worse than a good harvest of a tasteless veg.

    O:e year our friends grew a bumper crop of Qld. Blues and gave us some. Looked great, but tasteless, unfortunately I couldn't bring myself to tell them when asked, how it was...........So another huuuuuuge piece was given, no matter what I added, it just wasn't going to make a difference..........

    Enjoy those yummy lunches,

    Claire :}

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