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Mary Lowther column: What to do with your pumpkin post-Halloween

A big one for carving and using the flesh for savoury dishes
David’s Jack-o’-lanterns before I turned them into pie and puree. (Mary Lowther photo)

By Mary Lowther

David hadn’t carved a pumpkin for 50 years, so who was I to get in the way of a sudden burst of creativity? I had bought two pumpkins; a big one for carving and using the flesh for savoury dishes and a small “sugar” pumpkin for my favourite pie recipe and David wanted to carve both of them, so I kept out of his way. We really know why we bought two pumpkins, but now I have lots of leftover pumpkin flesh that “canna go to waste” or my granny would roll over in her grave.

And what does one do with leftover pumpkin? David has madly cut up our Halloween pumpkin and the small, sweeter pumpkin I took the flesh out of for pies, making it look like the big one is eating the little one. Now that they’ve made their appearance for the small goblins, I’m saving and using the meat from the big one too. I found it’s best to bake the pumpkin first to make it easier to scoop out the pulp: cut it in half, place the halves upside down on a tray and bake for about 30 minutes at 350 F, or until the pumpkin pierces easily with a fork. Scoop out the pumpkin and puree in a blender.

Measure how much water your ice cube trays hold then freeze blended pumpkin puree in ice cube trays and when frozen, store in plastic bags with the amount per cube written on the outside. Mine hold 1 ½ tablespoons so about 11 equals 1 cup. Add a few to a pot of soup or stew or make another pie.

Blend and dehydrate the rest, then blend this dried pumpkin to store as pumpkin flour and use in soups, stews or baking recipes. I store my dried pumpkin in the freezer too because I worry that it might go mouldy and waste all my efforts if stored elsewhere. I’ve found that using a quarter pumpkin flour to replace whatever flour I’m using makes a tastier product, and one could be really clever and use it in a pastry recipe for my favourite pumpkin pie, recipe following.

Pumpkin Chiffon Pie

8” baked pie shell

½ tsp. cinnamon

1T gelatin

½ tsp. nutmeg

½ cup cold water

1 ¼ cup cooked, mashed pumpkin

½ cup brown sugar

3 egg yolks, beaten

½ tsp. salt

½ cup milk

½ tsp. ginger

3 egg whites

¼ cup sugar whipped cream for garnish

Directions: Soften gelatin in water. Let stand. Combine brown sugar, salt, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin, egg yolks and milk in top of double boiler. Cook slowly over medium heat until mixture thickens. Remove from heat and add gelatin mixture until thoroughly dissolved. Place saucepan in pan of cold water until mixture mounds slightly. Beat egg whites and ¼ cup of sugar until stiff. Carefully fold into pumpkin mixture. Pour into cooked piecrust. Chill.

Please contact with questions and suggestions since I need all the help I can get.