Ditch the Canned Pumpkin!

Today I thought I’d take a little break from all the deep thoughts, politics and family dramas and do a little DIY (Do It Yourself) project.  This is a super easy one and a fun seasonal project for the kids, too!

Ever wonder how they get those huge pumpkins into those small cans?  I have, especially after hearing reports of bad pumpkin seasons and noticing the rising price of the canned goodness.  Perhaps you don’t think about it too much, because you may only use pumpkin once or twice a year, but I’ve always been a pumpkin fan so I find different ways to use it year round.

A couple of years ago, I tried experimenting with some rogue pumpkins that grew in my yard after I discarded a jack of lantern for mulch in my hydrangeas.  My tiny crop yielded a half dozen small pumpkins, so I decided to experiment with them.  Learn from my mistakes…if you want to get edible pumpkin flesh follow my easy and perfected tutorial.

Sugar Pumpkin

Start with small pumpkins that are often named “sugar pumpkins”.  This year, I got two medium sized ones at Costco for 3 or 4 dollars.  (Unfortunately no free pumpkins this year after the horrific winter we had!)

Remove the stems and cut them in half lengthwise.

Using a spoon, scoop out all the seeds and the membranes, which you can save for later.

.Scooped out

Place the scooped fruit (yes, pumpkins are fruits…actually berries!) cut side down on a baking sheet.  I was able all four halves on my sheet.  Oh, by the way, no need to grease the pan or season the flesh.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and cover the entire sheet with tinfoil.  Pop those babies in the oven for an hour and a half then remove and allow to cool.

Covered for baking

Once cool enough to touch, use your trusty spoon to remove the flesh from the peel and you’ve got pumpkin!!

Pumpkin–although absolutely delicious used in a pie–is so versatile.  It can be served just as you would serve squash, used to make pasta sauce and, of course, used to stuff ravioli!  But my favorite way to serve it is to my chubby doggies!

Yup! You heard me!  Corgis have a tendency to pack on the pounds if they are not out all day herding sheep or otherwise working for their supper.  A spoonful of pumpkin in the kibble is like caviar to dogs and helps their digestion, too!  It can also be mixed with yogurt and a dab of peanut butter for a frozen summer treat!

Don’t forget to keep those pumpkin seeds and roast them up…or for next year’s crop!

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