Tuesday, September 22, 2009
The Great Pumpkin Saga
So, since I can't hit a Starbucks every day, I've really, really been wanting to get some canned pumpkin so that I can make those pumpkin lattes at home! However, when we went to the grocery store, they were actually sold out of canned pumpkin. At a Wal-Mart supermarket. Apparently they were also sold out of pumpkin at my Nana's grocery store in Florida, and she says it's just been a bad year for pumpkin, causing a shortage of some sort. (Which bodes ill for Thanksgiving). Whatever the cause, I was forced to take pioneer methods and make my own. Seeing as we have two pumpkins from our garden, I chose the smaller one and decided to make my own pumpkin puree. You cut up the pumpkin into halves or quarters, put it in a pan, cover it with tinfoil (this takes a lot of dexterity and meditation--believe me, it's not that easy!) and then bake it at 350 until it's soft and the edges are browned and wrinkled--just like baking a squash, if you've ever done that. Then you manage to scrape it out (don't believe Internet stories that you can just peel the skin off) and puree it in the blender. My online sources assured me that after having fresh pumpkin puree I would never want to go back to store bought, but I'm not quite that enthusiastic. It took forever for the pumpkin to cook! I finally bumped it up to 375.
I found this inside the pumpkin, growing in the rows of seeds. Apparently one sprouted. . .and started growing. . .and turned green. . .all inside the pumpkin. Which seems impossible to me, but whatever. You can see the trailing white tail it has, that was almost rooted in the pumpkin guts, I pulled it out and could feel it separate from the pumpkin. Too weird for words, I know. Although perhaps professional pumpkin puree-ers see that sort of thing all the time.
I thought it was interesting how the pumpkin was whiter and softer at the top, and then got yellow and firm--an entirely different consistency altogether. Very pretty.
Also, I decided to be very thrifty and roast the seeds. You can see I got quite a lot from one small pumpkin.
And they're an excellent excuse to take yet another close-up of something.
Ah, yes--the puree. I'm going to freeze it instead of canning it, which seems way over the top and entirely unnecessary to me, when I have a much simpler method of preservation. Until the power goes out, of course. Aha! Now for the most important part. . .the only thing that got me to even look twice at that pumpkin in the first place.
Here is the pumpkin latte mixture in the pot:
And the lovely end result! Two delicious pumpkin lattes. Although I will admit, I decided it needed more pumpkin than the recipe called and it was a little chunky. And I got distracted trying to explain the concept of a matching mug to an anonymous family member and the mixture boiled, which may have made the coffee taste a little strong. But otherwise, completely delicious!