I remember, when I was a little girl, sitting in the kitchen at “The Cottage” with Great Grandma working at the kitchen counter preparing all sorts of delicious things. Some memories are of her making oatmeal, bacon, and eggs for breakfast, while others are of her peeling potatoes, boiling and making them into potato salad for dinner later that night. Little things she said and did are etched in my memory, and I still call upon many to this day.
One of those memories is how she tried to use everything possible from the kitchen scraps to make something else. Over the years, I have tried to use those lessons to stretch the garden harvests and our nutritional intake as far as I can. Today I thought I would share with you one of the things I do every autumn. I know – it is not even officially here yet, but the ripening of the squashes in the garden has started which makes this the perfect time.
This morning I ran out and picked two small pie pumpkins, one for curing to use as décor during Sukkot in October, and the other to make something delicious for dessert tonight. I want to make sure I make the most out of every little blessing Yahweh has given us, so nothing but skins will end up in the trash today.
First, I cut and scraped out the pumpkin and placed into a large bowl, all the “guts,” as my dad used to call it! Seeds and strings. I placed the cut pumpkin pieces into a saucepan and set it aside. Then to the bowl of “guts,” I added a few cups of filtered water and swished it around, loosening all the seeds from the strings. I took the strings and plopped them into the pot with the pumpkin chunks.
Next, I strained the seed water INTO that same pot, NOT down the drain. That rinse water is packed full of yummy goodness to use during the winter. I placed the lid on the pumpkin pot and put it on the stove to cook. When done, I will scrape the pumpkin from the skin, puree and use in dessert for today. Normally, I take the pumpkin and freeze it into 2 Cup baggies or plastic dishes for baked treats or soups during the winter months.
The seeds? Well, normally I toss them with a tiny bit of olive oil, sprinkle with a pinch of salt and toast them in the oven until lightly brown and crispy. They make a great afternoon snack or a yummy sprinkle on salads. THIS batch though, is being dried and saved for next year’s garden.
The water I had left from steaming the pumpkin will also end up frozen as “pumpkin broth.” This makes a great starter for soups in the winter. Just add some salt and spices, some vegetables, or use the pumpkin/squash broths to make gravy or pot pie filling!
There you have it! Nothing tossed away except the skins. I will tell you, if we had the ability to have a compost heap, NOTHING would be wasted because the skins would end up there. Sadly, I am not comfortable here composting with bears being spotted in the area – I really don’t feel like encouraging large wildlife to wander into our yard!!!
I think Great Grandma would be proud of me for remembering the lessons she taught and for making the absolute best of Yahweh's provision.
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Lead Author (Bio)
Jim, (Judi's husband), has Sephardi Jewish ancestry and is a minister and head of Shofar Productions. Jim was a denominational pastor, hospital chaplain, and former director of a non-profit community organization.
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