Recipes

Recipes.

How To Bake A Fresh Pumpkin

pumpkincookingFor the past few weeks my porch has been decorated will all things Fall, especially bright orange pumpkins! They have definitely served their purpose in making my house look festive, however I am ready to use them for some traditional Fall recipes.

I’ve chosen a smaller pumpkin to bake today to use in a future pumpkin pie recipe. I will puree and store it in the freezer until I need it.  Let me say that first off fresh pumpkin if very different from canned pumpkin.

Here’s what you will need and how I baked my beautiful pumpkin.

1 pumpkin, any size

1 cup water

1 large baking pan

Start by rinsing your pumpkin under cool water to clean the skin of any dirt or possible bugs. Preheat your oven now too, at 450F.

Next slice your pumpkin in half carefully with a sharp knife, watch your fingers!

Slice your pumpkin in half.

Next scoop out any pumpkin seeds with a spoon or ice cream scoop. Save your seeds for roasting and enjoy them as a snack!

Face pumpkin cut side down adding 1 cup of water to keep your pumpkin from drying out You may also wrap your pumpkin in aluminum foil if you wish. This will help steam your pumpkin.

Cooked Fresh Pumpkin

Once your pumpkin is cooked through after at least 45 minutes, it will seem darker in color. It will have a rich rusty orange color. You can piece your pumpkin with a knife to check for doneness. Your knife should easily poke right through your cooked pumpkin.

cooked pumpkin scooped out

Next, scoop out your cooked pumpkin with your ice cream scoop or spoon, and add to a bowl. You can see the steam coming out of my pumpkin!

mashing your pumpkin

At this point, you’ll want to mash your pumpkin, at least I like to. You can use a potato masher, a food mill, (this green one was used for making baby food) a blender or I chose to use my mini Cuisinart food chopper to get a really smooth consistency.creamed and pureeed pumpkin I pureed my cooked pumpkin in batches since I have a mini food chopper. You can do it all at once if you have a large one.

storing your cooked pumpkin

These are just some of my many baby food containers that I have used for making my own baby food. They come in handy for my pumpkin. They each measure out 2 ounces. My cooked pumpkin has accumulated a full 2 cups, so I will be using 8 of these containers. Just ignore the engraved veggies on the lid, you know you’ve got pumpkin in there!stored pumpkin in cute containers.

My containers are filled and ready to go into my freezer. I just want to make sure they are at room temperature first. As you can see I have cleaned my pumpkin seeds. I will roast them and save them for snacking and salads. Enjoy!cleaned pumpkin seeds ready for roasting.

How To Dry Fresh Sage and Oregano

Dried Sage and Oregano

Dried Sage and Oregano

I love using fresh herbs, but buying them can be expensive and wasteful at times. Drying them out provides a longer shelf life and lots of savory flavor.  Over the past 3 years once the frost has gone, I planted some of my own herbs in my garden.  Oregano, sage, parsley, mint, chives to name a few are the ones I most use. This and every year I have dried them so I can have them for months on hand to use in my recipes.  Here’s how to dry sage and oregano straight from your garden!

First I went outside and clipped my sage and oregano with kitchen sheers. I then took them inside and rinsed them with cool water. Many people don’t rinse their herbs, and just shake them off. I feel since there are animals outside, like those cute little squirrels I’ve seen in my garden, I do the not want to take a chance in contaminated herbs! After you rinse them well, place them flat on a paper towel to dry up the water a bit. I have bundled the sage and oregano up separately with a rubber band to hold them together. You can use twine, string, or aluminum foil to wrap around too. Just keep the end tight because next your going to hang the herbs up to dry. From the rubber band I attached a paper clip to make a hook for hanging.  You can see in the picture above how I did it.  I then hung up my sage and oregano to dry by my kitchen window. I hung mine for a week, and they seemed ready. Some people hang theirs in a brown paper bag, this is optional.IMG4787

You may also use a food dehydrator

You can hang yours anywhere, just make sure they are tied well, and hung upside down like this pic.

When they are completely dried out, they will seem crispy and crackly! They are ready for you to crumble and place in jars for future use.

Here’s how I did it…

I’ve already started to crumble my herbs above. You can do this on a cutting board, or paper towels between your hands. They herbs give off such an amazing scent! You’ll want to start using them right away.

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Since becoming a new mom, I had managed to save up those little glass baby food jars. I know one day they would come in handy for something. This is a great way to store your dried herbs. On the right I have a plastic baby food storage cup that can be frozen. On the left I have a glass jar, both I have labeled and ready to go in my kitchen pantry! You can buy some glass jars if you don’t have any on hand. Don’t let your herbs go to waste, dry them, store them, and use them well! Enjoy!