Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving Pumpkin...

So one item that did well in the garden this year was pumpkin.  I harvested probably close to 50 pumpkins from one sprawling plant!  (thankfully I only had one plant to contend with)  Now these weren't your Jack-o-lantern type but smaller pie pumpkins.  So here's the low down on how to can pumpkin. Oh and I did learn I was using my canner wrong in this post where I Failed canning poke.  So the secret in case anyone else needs to know is that you let the canner get to a boil and when you see steady steam coming from the vent you then put on the weights.  I wasn't doing this as I was using it like a pressure cooker and starting with the weights on and waiting for it to rattle and time it.  Well, when you do that it sucks the liquid out of your jars... So on to my success....

Canning pumpkin...option one

Cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out seeds. (keep for roasted seeds!) Then cut in to chunks, they don't have to be to small and put into a big pot. (see background)  
 I just kept going until my pot was full.  Cover pumpkin with water and bring to a boil.  Cook until fork tender.  About as long as it take potatoes to cook.  

Here's the time consuming part peel, scrape, or any other way take skin off pumpkin.  Spoon pumpkin chunks out of water as you want to save the cooking water.  

Put chunks of pumpkin into canning jars.  After much research it is strongly suggested that for home canning of pumpkin you that you do not smash it.  Pureed pumpkin is hard (nearly impossible) to get hot enough to safely can at home so according to all I read you should can it in chunks.  It is easy to puree when you use it. 

Now fill the jar with cooking liquid. Remember to leave an 1" head space.  Put on lid and put in canner.

My canner has a line for where the water level should be which is only about a 3rd way up.  Then turn on the heat to high and wait! When you see a steady stream of steam coming from the vent let vent for 10 mins. then put on the weight as seen above. :)  Process (meaning cook) pints size jars for 55 mins and quarts for 90 mins.  At 10 lbs pressure.  For my canner that meant one ring.  (check your manual) 
And Viola...

Canning Pumpkin...option two

Option two is you can skip cooking the pumpkin first and peel the raw pumpkin pack in to jars and cover with boiling water and process the same.  This cooks pumpkin in the canner while canning but I will warn you they both take the same amount of time as peeling or cutting the skin off raw pumpkin is not easy.  As far as I can tell so far both yield pretty much the same result. 

Good luck

Happy Thanksgiving everyone... This makes really great pumpkin pie! or anything else you use pumpkin in.

Have a happy and safe holiday! 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Worms and Pirates...

Well, I hope you had a good Halloween if you celebrate.  As my family knows Halloween is not my favorite holiday.  For years we didn't hardly give it a passing nod but the kids got older and wanted to do more things changed a bit. Anyways, this year we were invited to a Halloween Bunco Bash.  It included a costume contest and creepy dish contest.  Well we had a good time and the costumes and food turned out great...

For the creepy yet edible dish I made a dirt cake with very real looking worms...

For the worms I used this recipe for Jello worms. I used the whole package of Knox Gelatin that's all 4 envelopes and it turned out great.   For the cake I used this recipe for Dirt cake Of course I used my jello worms instead of gummy worms. 
This dish grossed out my girls so much they barely tried it then said it didn't taste good but it was all in their head!  Everyone else loved it...

The brave party goers ate it up!

For our costumes Super D and I went as Pirates and the Sassafras was a Zebra and Sugar Bug Red Riding hood.  (Mostly it was an excuse for the girls to wear make up and dress up!)

We managed to get this decent picture with the timer on the camera right before we left.
But some of the best pictures were at the party.

Love the new addition!  They had a pet parrot and she actually flew over to me and climbed up on my shoulder! 

Our poor friend had a hole shot in her! But what an ingenious idea.

Sugar bug had a little competition with red riding hood.  But what a great couples costume.

We got all of us in front of the graveyard backdrop. And got Sassafras to put her hood up for this one.

Sugar bug and her silly faces!

My parrot friend even came with me to oblige a few more pictures. 

The nigh went great and my favorite was the wolf by the end of the night had a good representation of all our great costumes....

Thank you to our hosts for a great night.  Bunco (which is a dice game) was a lot of fun.  Especially since I won some good prizes.. :)  Hope to do it again next year!
Someone put a lot of planning and time into this and I am thankful we were included in the fun.