While out during the day, I see so many homes with beautiful pumpkins decorating the porches, fences and yards. I too love decorating with these and other gourds. But I want to suggest to you: Go out and get them before they freeze! As beautiful as pumpkins are, they are just as delicious and easy to prepare!
OK, so to start, cut any pumpkins you have in half. Pull out the seeds and strings (save those seeds to bake and eat if you want!). I lightly rubbed some olive oil on my baking pans and placed the pumpkins cut-side down. Then I added water in the pan to as full as I could without spilling. I lightly covered the pumpkins with foil to prevent the skin from burning and baked at 400 degrees for an hour.
When you take them out, poke with a fork or try to scrape with a spoon to check for doneness. If they’re still firm, pop them back in. If not, set your pan next to your food processor and scrape them out. I keep the pumpkins I haven’t done face down on the pan; the pumpkins puree much nicer when they are hot or warm. Puree and fill containers as you go along. I use these . Let them cool on the counter, then lid them after awhile, then pop them in the freezer. Use them in any recipe that calls for canned pumpkin.
Another ‘Waste Not!’ issue that will soon be here is the turkey carcass. Don’t throw it out after your Thanksgiving dinner! Throw it in the freezer if you don’t have the time right then but for goodness sakes! Boil that baby down!
Stock is easy-peasy to make and chock full of goodness! Real bone broth is rich in Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, and other trace minerals. It also contains those recently popular (and costly!) nutrients glucosamine and chondroiton.
OK, so start with any old bone. For us it’s usually a poultry carcass but today it was a ham bone from a week ago. I pulled it out of the freezer and threw it in the pot. Add water just to cover. Add a splash or two of vinegar or wine to help leach the nutrients from the bone.
Get the pot on some heat. Chop whatever veggies you have….carrots, onions, celery, parsnips, whatever. They don’t have to be in good condition either. Today’s celery felt more like a wet noodle than crisp celery.
Then, season however you want. Really, whatever you want to put in there. If you have old herbs in your crisper bin, put ’em in. I pulled dried spices out of the cupboard today.
Bring it all to a boil, then simmer. Simmer however long you want too! When the leftover bits of meat fall off the bone you know you’re at the right time for flavor but if you want to increase the nutritional factor then keep it on the heat! You can simmer it as long as 24 hours….I might do that if Ihad a woodstove but keeping the stove in the kitchen on that long makes me feel like a bad person.
Anyway, you can let it set at room temp and then skim off the fat from the top or else just ladle it up and serve it or freeze it. Todays ham bone and veggies made 33 cups of broth for the freezer plus one cup for my sniffling littles to glug down after dinner.
Having stock on hand at all times is wonderful! And extremely cost effective! Organic, Free Range Chicken Broth found here is almost $20 for 24 cups, plus shipping (can you believe all the things you can buy on Amazon??) And I made 34 cups! With one bone! It’s so easy!
So save that carcass and get your boil on! And if you’re not going to, save it and call me…I’ll use it!