Make pumpkin pie! And yes, I’m talking about those pumpkins from your front porch step. In our effort to become less “environmentally wasteful,” the kids and I carved out our pumpkins, tossed the stringy mess into the compost pile, saved the seeds for roasting and/or next year’s crop and commenced to cookin! We found this great recipe online from www.pickyourown.org and it worked like a charm. And it’s a heck of a lot easier than I would have imagined!
Once you completely carve the pumpkin, you cook it. We steamed ours stove top, but they have instructions for microwave and oven, too. Because we didn’t have a steamer big enough, I put a metal colander inside one of my biggest pots, cut the pumpkin into large pieces, then covered it with tin foil. Twenty minutes later – cooked, squishy pumpkin! It peels off the skin with little or no effort, then you place it into a big mixing bowl and add sugar (we used organic, purchased from our grocer), spices, evaporated milk and eggs. The recipe is enough for two pies, unless they’re both deep dish.
Tip: use a hand blender or mixer. We didn’t, and ended up with cooked egg whites “floating” in our pies. While it didn’t affect the taste, it did detract from the appearance so be forewarned — in case you’re gifting your pies. We did cut corners a bit and used the store-bought prepared pie pastry, covering the edges with foil so they didn’t burn, which means we can’t officially say it’s from scratch – but pretty close. And really, shouldn’t we let those who have perfected the business of pastry get credit? (But if you’re a die hard scratch cook, go for it.) We then placed them in the oven for about an hour and they were delicious! Check my recipe page for full details.
As to next year’s crop, keep in mind you’ll have to plant in June if you want pumpkins by Halloween, as it takes 3-4 months to reach maturity, and beware the rainy season. Pumpkins are susceptible to fungus and mold. For more details on growing pumpkins in Florida, go to UF’s solutions for your life. It’s a wonderful resource for real life gardening.