Posted on 24 November 2008 by

Preserving the Harvest – Pumpkins

By Cindy Naas

I have grown pumpkins a number of times in my small city garden, and once we even grew them in containers.

My front yard had two giant pumpkins in the middle for a couple of months, which made for an interesting landscape feature.

This year, we didn’t grow our own, but I did manage to go out and buy a number of them to store.

Pumpkins are easily stored. I have a root cellar where it is dark and much cooler than the rest of the house. If you don’t have a place which can be used as a root cellar, consider using plastic storage bins with plenty of ventilation holes, and keep the bins in the coolest part of your house.

When you bring your pumpkins in, wash them with a mild bleach solution. Allow them to dry completely before storing. It’s very important to make sure the pumpkins are dry, otherwise they will rot. Place them on shelves or in plastic bins with layers of newspaper between two pumpkins.

If you’d like to cook the pumpkins first, you can freeze the cooked pulp. Roast your pumpkin just like you would squash, or else scoop out the seeds and then steam the pumpking with a veggie steamer. Roasting really brings out the rich sweet earthy flavour of pumpkins, though. After it is cool, scoop into zippered freezer bags or plastic containers with airtight lids. Pumpkin can be kept for months in a freezer. Since we use a lot of pumpkin in cooking, I try to make sure that I prepare for or five to freeze and then store 10 or more fresh pumpkins.

Here are a couple of my family’s favorite pumpkin recipes. Maybe these will convince you to try growing your own pumpkins next season!

Pumpkin Risotto

  • Ingredients
  • 6-8 cups vegetable broth
  • 4 tbs. olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cups pumpkin, peeled, and diced
  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp. dried ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp chopped parsley
  • Salt
  • freshly ground pepper

1. Heat broth in medium sized saucepan and keep warm over low heat. Melt 4 Tbsp of oil in a large saute pan (deeper than a frying pan); add onion. Cook over medium heat until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.

2. Add pumpkin cubes and stir for one minute. Add rice to onion. Cook 3 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Add wine. Cook, stirring constantly until wine has been absorbed by the rice or evaporated. Add a few ladles of broth, just enough to barely cover rice. Cook over medium heat until broth has been absorbed. Continue cooking and stirring rice, adding a little bit of broth at a time, cooking and stirring until it is absorbed, until the rice is tender, but still firm to the bite, about 15 to 20 minutes. Note: the pumpkin may not stay in cubes, it will blend into the rice/broth mixture. This is ok.

3. During the last minutes of cooking, add Parmesan, and parsley. At this point the rice should have a creamy consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste. Finish with a drizzle of dark molasses, or with pumpkin butter or apple butter.

Pumpkin Cake

  • 1 cup cooked mashed pumpkin
  • 1/2 C. oil or soft butter
  • 1/2 C. honey
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 3/4 C flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. ginger
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/3 C. water

oil or butter for greasing pan

1. Beat oil, sugar and honey together in bow.; add eggs; mix well.

2. Combine dry ingredients in another bowl.

3. Add dry ingredients and water to honey mixture.

4. Mix in pumpkin and raisins.

5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

6. Grease pan with oil or butter or put cupcake liners into muffin pans.

7. Spoon in batter.

8. Bake for 1 hour for loaf, 30 minutes for 9x 13 pan or 20 to 25 minutes for cupcakes.

9. Remove pumpkin bread from oven using potholders; put on cooling rack; cool loaf 15 minutes before inverting to take it out of the pan.

2 Responses to “Preserving the Harvest – Pumpkins”

  1. Shibaguyz Says:

    Great timing! We are currently setting up our storage area for our squash and this is exactly what the farmer we bought them from told us to do with them. Great info! Thanks!

  2. Cheese Says:

    Sounds like a couple of good recipes – went for a pumpkin soup with ours and froze some for future consumption, although admittedly we didn’t actually grow the pumpkin ourselves. I would be interested to hear how you got on with container-grown pumpkins as their size usually leaves them on the container no-no list!

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