Growing, storing and Using Pumpkins

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Pumpkins would have to be one of the cheapest and easiest vegetable we grow, though they do spread out taking up alot of room they are great for those areas not alot else can be grown in. This past Spring we planted them on a pile of compost created over winter and on top of an area of lawn that allowed for plenty of growth. Pumpkin scraps and seeds are just thrown on top as we discard them, they don’t really need starting in pots and alot of TLC babying them along.

The only problem we ever experience with them may be powdery mildew which is (usually) easily fixed with milk sprays. Homegrown pumpkin is so much better than store bought, they are hardy both in growing and storage. We harvest after the plants have died off and we leave most of them to get a couple of good frosts…this gives a deep dark orange flesh and a rich, sweet flavour. Pumpkins should be harvested with a two cm stem on the fruit and stored, not touching each other, in a cool and dark airy place. They generally last up to 9 months but do need to be checked.

This week I have been going through our stored pumpkins and removing any that are showing signs of deterioration. Offending areas can be cut out and the rest used. Any excess can be just cut and frozen raw in bags. They won’t lose flavour but the texture is affected, they break down quicker on cooking.

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I also cook pumpkin in salted water and mash it, freezing the puree in 1 cup quantities to use for baking. I also tend to make vegetarian lasagne, or a mixture of beef and vegetable, when I have the pumpkin already cooked and on hand to use.

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In New Zealand pumpkin is used alot as a vegetable, eaten either roasted, boiled or mashed. My son’s new wife is from Indiana, USA, and she was surprised by this, telling me her family have bought pumpkins to hollow out for Halloween but the flesh has always been thrown away !! We don’t really celebrate Halloween here but pumpkin is a common fresh vegetable in meals. Canned pumpkin has never made the shelves in supermarkets here (as far as I know).

I have tried roasting pumpkin seeds a few times but have never got them quite right, I don’t know that I will try again. Pumpkin flowers, like zucchini, are delicious fried in batter and both the vegetable and the flower can end up on a platter of Beer Battered Tempura Vegetables.

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We also use pumpkin, often leftover roasted, in vegetable quiches. Our absolute favourite though is this Pumpkin and Silverbeet Quiche

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Though Roger isn’t much of a soup eater I could live on it. Pumpkin soup with a little bacon, Pumpkin and Sweet Potato and Roast Pumpkin and Carrot soups are all very yummy but my favourite is the Spicy Pumpkin and Lentil.

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Pumpkin and Vegetable Bake (a terrible photo I have forgotten to sort!) and variations on Pumpkin Chickpea Patties are both good!! We also enjoy Roast pumpkin Hummus.

A recipe for Pumpkin Walnut and Raisin Bread here

Two things I still have not tried is the famous pumpkin pie and these yummy looking pumpkin pancakes at the wonderful Chocolate Covered Katie site.

Pumpkin, Walnut and Raisin Loaf

I just ended a three month baking hiatus and this was a yummy way to end it :) I will put the original site I got the recipe from but I did change it just a little, increasing the amount of butter, walnuts, raisins and spice and I made the method easier. Served hot with butter it’s very delicious, on day 3 it still has a nice and moist texture.

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4 oz (100 g) butter

1 1/3 cups sugar

2 eggs,

1/4 cup water

1 cup pumpkin puree

1 2/3 cup flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/3 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1 cup walnuts

3/4 cup raisins or sultanas

Preheat oven to 350 (180) deg and prepare 1 large or 2 small loaf pans.

Soften butter and cream with sugar. Add eggs and beat, add pumpkin puree and water and beat well. Add sifted dry ingredients – the flour, spices, salt, baking powder and soda. Fold in the walnuts and raisins, pour into tins and bake a large one 55 – 60 minutes, smaller ones around 35 – 40 minutes.

The original recipe was found at About.com – submitted by Diana Rattray

 

 

 

Guest Post: Something To Admire

quarteracrelifestyle:

A quest post I did for Living Simply Free.

Originally posted on Living Simply Free:

One of the best things about blogging are the things I get to learn.  Last week Wendy mentioned her friends from Vanuatu. I was curious what this island looked like, the above image is what I found.   Wendy’s mentioned her friends before but this time I felt a bit more brave and asked her if she would write a guest post and not only tell me more but allow me to share what she has received from knowing these particular friends.  Wendy was gracious enough to accept my request!  Wendy, for those of you who might not know, blogs at Quarter Acre Lifestyle and is such an inspiration to me.  Let me introduce Wendy now.
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Thanks Lois for inviting me to do a guest post on your wonderful blog!

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She sleeps in her car

Wanted to share this short video (3 minutes) of this young girl who went to graduation then home to her car. Her long gown didn’t look the same next day, this the reality for many young people and it’s too sad. “About 50,000 youth in the U.S. sleep on the street for six months or more. But what happens when “on the street” isn’t really “on the street”? You never know what someone else is going through — especially when their struggles don’t look how you imagined they would.”

Blog Hop Around the World

Pauline, The Contented Crafter invited me to take part in this blog hop. Pauline is a fellow Kiwi and a talented artist who sells her lovely work on Etsy. I won these beautiful cards in a giveaway when she first had them printed and I treasure them.

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She is also mother to the most gorgeous new wee puppy Siddy and a most precious ginger cat called Orlando (featured in this middle card above) and I read her posts of the antics between these two with many giggles. Pauline is a kind and generous lady with a great sense of humour. Do check out her blog, she’s a sweetie :) I must admit to feeling anxiety when Pauline nominated me. As she wrote in her introduction, I don’t think of myself as being particularly creative. I used to be many years ago, I was always an avid knitter –  over different periods I made rag dolls, handsewn patchwork, did folk art and knitted tiny lacy layettes for antique dolls with crochet cotton. but I hadn’t done anything at all for years, I am only just starting to make “stuff” again.

 

 

So the questions I have to answer are:

 

 

WHY DO I CREATE WHAT I DO?

I have no one hobby that I am great at. Either, I have a desire to make something prettier (the little cabinet) I have a need for something in particular and would rather make my own (soaps, skin balms, lotions etc) Roger asks me to paint something for him (the birdhouse he wanted painted as a traditional cottage) I want to see if I can  (paintings and drawings) or I have something that I’d like to re-use (broken china from the quakes made into mosaics) seemed a good idea at the time (the cat bed).

HOW DOES MY CREATIVE PROCESS WORK?

Well it depends :) I am confident in the kitchen so I guess that’s where I am most creative. Food holds no issues, making things with oils and herbs is something I enjoy and get “into”. Some things I will simply give it a go and be happy with an ok finish, some things I have collected materials or tools for but don’t know the HOW’S yet – I would love to try many different things. I draw pictures for my granddaughter and enjoy the fact I don’t have to do perfect for an 8 year old. Painting on the other hand gets me stuck but it’s the one thing I would like to do well…I get frustrated by it :) I don’t want lessons,  I want to learn through my own processes but then get hung up on being unable to ever complete them. The painting above of the vase of flowers is something I have got wrong in some areas and still haven’t finished because I don’t know how to make them right. I can see what the problems are but…..!

HOW DOES MY WORK DIFFER FROM OTHERS OF IT’S GENRE? How does one answer this lol. It doesn’t. I generally copy someone else’s ideas, recipes or pictures while I am learning and I have much to learn in many areas. A couple of ways I may be a little different are that I like to create pretty spaces and inexpensive decor from things I find in nature.

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I also love the look of rusty barbed wire, lichen covered recycled wood etc. Roger recently made this because I wanted one and couldn’t do it, HE enjoyed making it alot.

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These materials lie as scrap everywhere on the farm he works on so we would like to use it :) He is now making a large celtic cross. My ultimate desire would be to make barbed wire and beaded corsets (about as “different” as one could be!) but I cannot bend the stuff. How very kind is my rather rugged man who offers to make the corset if I show him how I want it…..I probably couldn’t make him go through with that :)

WHAT AM I PRESENTLY WORKING ON?

The bird house pictured above and a small set of map drawers I am decoupaging. I have also just discovered soapmaking and have two batches curing and have plans for others.

So, that’s enuff about me.

I would like to introduce you to another two bloggers whose work I admire, Lois at living-simply-free.com  oawritingspoemspaintings.wordpress.com who unfortunately can’t participate because she is committed at present to other things but is happy for me to share her blog with you. Lois is a passionate environmentalist and I always find her posts enlightening and thought provoking. She also works magic on neglected furniture, saving them from landfills and restoring them for those who can use them. projectIcon She sews and does the most loveliest of crochet (and all sorts of other things!) for her grandchildren. princess dress

Photos copied with permission, thanks Lois

Oawitingpoemspaintings is an artist, a photographer :) a poet, a writer, a gardener, a thinker. Photo used with permission, please do check out this great blog.

Living life to its fullest! ©copyright2014owpp

 

Nature in Distress

quarteracrelifestyle:

A good post from Lois but oh, a concerning read :(

Originally posted on Living Simply Free:

Things are different this summer.  I have gotten a couple of mosquito bites, the first ever here in my little sanctuary. The reason is that we lost our bat colony.  We had hundreds of bats that would fly out of the pines each evening. It was a sight to witness.  The most we’ve seen at any one time this year has been four.

My grandson found this dead bee. There was damage to the one wing.

My grandson found this dead bee. There was damage to the one wing.

Then there is the field. Where are the bees?  It used to be that I would see my plants covered in bees.  They were every where in the gardens and around the wild plants.  This year I added some bee loving plants such as lambs ears. Nothing. I know we’ve had to have had some bees visit the garden because I have a couple tomatoes forming. Yet I worked in the garden for several…

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Winter…downtime.

You will have to excuse my lack of posts in recent weeks, really I have had little to post about! I am enjoying our winter and some downtime from the kitchen and garden. There have been other things going on though….reading, napping, odd craft things, been to two weddings :)

First things first, the garden This is about all that’s happening for Roger at the moment, lots of maintenance, clearing, pruning.

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We have garlic planted, carrots are still being harvested along with leeks, beetroot (beets), broad beans (edame?) are growing, broccoli, winter lettuce, baby spinach, onions, red onions and silverbeet (chard).

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I realised I had never put a tally on here of how much we grew over the first 6 months of recording our harvests. This doesn’t include some, we either forgot to record or grabbed some for visitors and never thought at the time to write it down. Some good crops, some flop crops.

Berries (Cranberries, Strawberries, Raspberries, Blackberries, Worcestor Berries)  – 39 kg

Figs (not a great season) – 25.5 kg

Carrots – 42 kg

Feijoas – 50.5 kg

Beetroot – 46 kg

Leeks – 8 kg

Onions – 14 kg

Pumpkins 80 – 90 kg

Apple cucumbers – 16 kg

Potatoes (terrible season!) 14.5 kg

Capsicums x 24…. Chilli – less than 1 kg

Zucchini – 44 kg Marrow 52 kg

Peaches (Two trees didn’t fruit at all) 6 kg

Beans – 38 kg

Tomatoes  – 28.5 kg

Sliverbeet – over 100 kg (we grow two large patches for chook food as well)

Lettuce, brocolli, spinach, herbs etc – picked most days but we didn’t weigh them

Eggs – over 100 kg

We bought extra tomatoes to preserve as this was one of the worst seasons we have had, bought extra capsicums to preserve and peaches, plums and walnuts.

The Kitchen

This will sound terribly boring for me but it’s really not, it’s a good thing. All we are eating is our meals based around the garden, eggs, meat Roger gets. All the fruit was frozen for smoothies. Lunches are sandwiches or leftovers usually and dinner is 1001 ways of cooking the same things, occasionally buying chicken on special or a little fish. I have not baked for months and the reason for this is we haven’t wanted it. I made desserts that didn’t get eaten, cakes that were left in the tin….so I stopped. We are eating really well and are not desiring anything other than pretty basic foods. Have I lost weight though – nope! Not an ounce even though I could do too.

House:

Roger got a great buy online with carpet for the bedrooms. He bought what was listed as 6m x 3 m of beige 1 year old pure wool carpet and underlay for $50. When he went to collect it the guy said it was probably quite a bit more, he wasn’t sure. It is enough to do 3 bedrooms and his friend’s sleepout. This is presently sitting in a huge, heavy pile in our lounge waiting for us to lay it. It’s taking a little time to gather the motivation required!!!!! It is sitting in front of a cabinet that contains the stuff I need to finish some projects but weighs a ton.

Remember the cat bed I made that Mittens did not like? We came home from a weekend away to find he had decided it was OK after all – to lie ON though not in.

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Life: A couple of weeks ago we attended the wedding of my most special niece and her man. We almost didn’t make it, both coming down with tummy bugs, but managed to rebook flights and get there. It was a fancy dress wedding and we went as Indiana Jones and Magenta from The Rocky Horror Picture Show. It was such alot of fun and we thoroughly enjoyed it. My oldest son whom I only get to see every couple of years made it :) The bride and groom are the loveliest couple and they had a movie theme… red carpets and Oscars and all sorts of Hollywoody stuff! It really was a neat wedding :)

And this Saturday just gone my youngest son married his sweetheart, a young lady from Indiana, USA. I couldn’t be happier – after a difficult couple of years for him he has found great happiness with a really special lady and they adore each other. I don’t think they would like their photos put on a strange blog they know little about but I thought I would show this one. It was raining and cold and though my granddaughter started out with the intention of holding the umbrella over the bride while they went for a walk this is how they returned lol

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