Canned Pumpkin


I wrote this a few years ago, after my first experience with cooking pumpkins…

We had a few extra pumpkins this year–not a lot, but enough that I felt the need to be productive with them. So, we have cut some up to feed the pigs, and we have cut some up for our own use.

Baking pumpkin is very easy, though perhaps a bit time-consuming. I’ve tried it three ways, and I’ve found no way to be superior. My preference is baking because the pumpkin seems to be less soggy, but the crockpot and stovetop certainly get the job done. All you need to do is cut open a pumpkin, scoop out the seeds and stringy stuff, then cut the fruit into manageable pieces. Put enough water to cover the bottom of a pot, baking dish, or crockpot, and put the pumpkin in. Cover and cook or bake on low until the pulp is soft enough to be scooped out of the rind with a spoon. Smash it if it needs smashing. Then, measure the pumpkin into freezer bags or containers and stick in the freezer. Easy enough.

Since I had all of this excess pumpin, I thought I would make some pumpkin muffins for breakfast today. I had a new muffin recipe that I wanted to try, so I followed the directions and made the muffins. They smelled so good while they were baking! When the timer went off, I turned on the light for a little peek. “Hmm . . . maybe I should open the oven door,” I thought to myself, “These look a little peaked”. I opened the oven door, and was mildly surprised at how . . . um . . . anemic my muffins looked. They looked like cornbread! I tasted them, and they tasted all right, but there was no rich, autumn orange color. I tasted them again. On second thought, they tasted pale. I mean, really, a pumpkin muffin should at least taste orange, right?

I don’t know what the folks at Libby’s put into their pumpkin to make it so orange. Maybe it’s a special type of pumpkin they use. I looked at the ingredients on a store-brand can of pumpkin I had, and it just said “pumpkin”. Apparently, their pumpkin is extra-rich in beta-carotene or something.

Truthfully, the muffins I made tasted like pumpkin muffins. My perception of them was affected by their appearance more than by their actual taste. I don’t know that I should ever make something pumpkin-y for someone with this home-cooked pumpkin. What if they liked their pumpkin foods orange, too? Who ever heard of a yellow pumpkin pie? I think I’d run into some serious skeptics. My dessert would be the one left on the table un-cut at the end of the pitch-in. You know what I’m talking about. How embarrassing to have to take the entire dessert home while everyone pretended they didn’t notice. I’d rather leave it on the table and just walk away.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking. Do I judge the folks I meet by what I think they should look like or by who they truly are? If I do, I may be missing out. There are probably all kinds of yellow folks out there who are truly orange at heart–just like my pumpkin muffins.