Sunday, November 23, 2014

Processing the Pumpkins

I had bought the pumpkins just to serve as a pretty porch decoration.

But yesterday, I started feeling a bit guilty about the waste.  And so I decided to cook the smaller, more orange pumpkins.

I got home from spin class, and my spouse was game to help.  At first it was fun, much like childhood memories of cleaning out the pumpkins to get ready for Halloween.

We decided that the rounder one would make a perfect soup tureen, and so we started it baking once we cleaned it out.  The other one we decided to cut into chunks and to grill.  We tossed all the seeds with seasonings and cooked them too.

We scooped the sides of the pumpkin tureen from the inside and made some holes.  So, we cleaned that pumpkin and added it to a pot with some chicken broth.  Unfortunately, I spilled too much basil into the pot.  We tried to correct it in so many ways, but each attempt made it worse. 

Ultimately we threw it out.  So, I suppose in some ways, we wasted more by trying to save the pumpkin, if you think about the chicken broth.  Or maybe not, because we did use the seeds.

The grilled pumpkin was not as interesting as I hoped it would be.  Even with the mesquite chips being used to grill the ribs, the pumpkin wasn't smoky tasting at all.

Plus, it wasn't really cooked well enough to blend into a puree.  So I cooked it down with more water and put it in the freezer when it was done.  In the end, I finished with about a can's worth of pumpkin.

So, let me count the dishes dirtied to redeem these pumpkins:  3 cookie sheets,  a big soup pot, a smaller pan that cooked the grilled pumpkin chunks while I was still trying to save the soup, the blender, various knives, cutting boards that were dirtied and washed again and dirtied again, a colander, various spoons . . . I felt like I spent much of yesterday washing dishes and washing dishes and washing more dishes.

Let me count the energy used--the non-human energy that is.  We used the oven and 2 stove burners.  We used electricity for the blender.  We used the grill, but we'd have been using it yesterday.  We used a lot of electricity to heat the water to clean the dishes.  Our carbon footprint was large to prevent 2 pumpkins from going to the landfill.

And at the end, a pile of pumpkin seeds and a cup or two of pumpkin puree.

Perhaps for the other 2 pumpkins, I'll take them to a wildlife area near a boat launch and hurl them into the undergrowth.  Will they nourish the land?  Perhaps.

A hundred years from now, will people wonder how a pumpkin patch came to be so close to the sea?

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