October 24, 2016

How to Turn Free Pumpkins into Pumpkin Puree

Have you noticed that pumpkins are expensive during October and suddenly worthless on November first?

How to make nearly-free pumpkin puree

I won't pay that ridiculous price in October, but as soon as the calendar changes to November I can pick them up very cheaply and sometimes even for free. I don't turn them into Jack-O-Lanterns; I turn them into pumpkin puree and chicken feed.

The big box store in town always discounts their pumpkins in November and I try to pick up a couple of those at half price or less. One year they were on sale for fifty cents each near the middle of the month, so I bought a couple more. I heard that eventually they gave pumpkins away, but I wasn't in town that day.

How to make nearly-free pumpkin puree.

I've even scored a few free pumpkins for the asking at businesses that decorate with straw bales and pumpkins. It never hurts to ask. (If you live in a colder climate than I do, this might not work for you. Once they've frozen, they're only good for chicken feed. But check them out anyway: if the pumpkin display was in a sheltered spot, they might have survived the cold temperatures.)

Most of the pumpkins are still in very good shape and I turn them into pumpkin puree that goes in the freezer and eventually becomes pumpkin pie and other goodies. The ones that are past the point of human consumption go to the chickens. My hens enjoy pecking at the flesh until all that's left is the hard, thin shell.

To process a pumpkin, start by cutting off the top and removing the seeds as though you're carving a jack-o-lantern. The "top hat" of the pumpkin, the seeds and as many of the strings as you can scrape off the inside flesh of the pumpkin (I use a grapefruit spoon) make great chicken feed.

Sometimes you'll find sprouted pumpkin seeds inside.

Sometimes I'll cut into a pumpkin and find that the seeds have already sprouted inside. I've realized that pumpkin seeds could be sprouted (you know, on purpose!) and fed to the chickens as "green feed." Lightbulb moment! I haven't done it yet though...

Cut the rest of the pumpkin into large pieces and arrange in a roasting pan with a little water. Bake in a 325°F oven until the pumpkin meat is soft when you poke it with a fork. Remove from the oven and set the pan aside until the pumpkin is cool, then just peel the rind off. (You'll either need a couple of roasting pans, or do this in several shifts. There's a lot of pumpkin to be roasted!)

Roast the pumpkin at 325°F until very soft.

Cut the flesh into cubes and puree in the food processor. Since these aren't pie pumpkins, they usually have more water than commercially-canned pumpkin puree. If it's a really watery pumpkin I hang it in muslin for awhile to let some of the moisture drain out.

Pumpkin puree is too dense to can safely at home, even in a pressure cooker. However, it can be canned in chunks if you prefer. You can find directions to pressure-can pumpkin chunks here.

Puree the cooked pumpkin in your food processor.

Check your favorite recipes to see the amounts you use the most, and package accordingly. I package mine in several sizes according to use: 3 3/4 cups equals a large can of pumpkin puree for pie-making; 2 cups makes pumpkin bread. I package several one-cup portions too for other uses, including my Holiday Spice soap.

Label the bags and store in the freezer.

Do you want more ideas of what to make with homemade pumpkin puree? Check out my Pinterest board All Things Pumpkin.

This post has been shared at some of my favorite blog hops.


My hope is to inspire you, and to encourage your homesteading plans and your dreams of a simple, self-reliant, God-dependent life. You can follow me at:
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October 23, 2016

Silver Sunday and Being Thankful

And the words of the Lord are flawless, like silver... Psalm 12:6 NIV

I am thankful to the Lord, my God, for:

- a weekend away with hubby
- a friend who did my chores
- morning fog in a valley
- a pink and cream sunrise
- finding a surprise melon
Silver Sunday

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; 
knock and the door will be opened to you. 
For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; 
and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
Matthew 7:7,8 NIV


October 20, 2016

October 18, 2016

A Slice of My Life

After their evening feeding the horses head out to graze for awhile 
before going to the barn. Ella is waiting for the geldings to join her 
so they can wander out to the best grass.
(I wish we could get rid of the bitterweed.)


My hope is to inspire you, and to encourage your homesteading plans and your dreams of a simple, self-reliant, God-dependent life. You can follow me at:
Facebook | Pinterest | Bloglovin | Subscribe via email

October 17, 2016

Fruit Scrap Jelly

It gets SO hot here in the summer that even with the air conditioning on, it's too hot to can any produce in August. I usually resort to tossing the treasures that come from the garden in the freezer and then plan to can it all up when it gets cooler.

Fruit scrap jelly

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