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happysunshine
Oct 19th, 2011, 07:19 AM
Hi all,

As a healthy cooking fan / foodie, I'm moving to the next level of service to humanity in this area.

I'm enroled in the culinary arts program in college and am doing a researched report on a topic of my choosing.

The results will be seriously considered as an addition to the class curriculum for next year.
.
Here's the topic I chose ....

What are the most aggravating problems when it comes to using pumpkin during the holidays?

(That would be from now until New Year's Day. I'm guessing a lot of folks would focus on Halloween and Christmas. )

So, since I'm doing my formal research in the libraries, I thought I would do some informal research by asking real people.

So, if you would be so kind, I would LOVE your feedback.

Again, the big question ....


WHAT ARE YOUR MOST AGGRAVATING PROBLEMS WHEN IT COMES TO USING PUMPKIN DURING THE HOLIDAYS?



Lotza Love to All !!

cedarblue37
Oct 19th, 2011, 08:09 AM
are there any aggravating problems? can you explain a little more please?

happysunshine
Oct 19th, 2011, 08:54 AM
Hi cedarblue37!

Thank you kindly for your request for clarity.

I didn't give examples before because I didn't want to presume what people might be experiencing. Apologies if it was too unspecific.

Okay ...

Such things as how to carve them, how to serve them, how to use leftovers, what to do with the seeds, how to choose them, how to cook them, what to serve them with (what other things on the table) ... things like that.

My assignment is to find people's main problems with a holiday food and create suggestions for solving those problems.

I chose pumpkin because I know I've heard through the years various folks complaining about this and that (things like listed above).

My mission is to find the most aggravating things around pumpkin use during the holidays and find solutions for those problems.

Is that helpful and clearer? (I aim to please ... :o)

Crusty Rat
Oct 19th, 2011, 10:05 AM
They're very large so if you're gonna use some of one it's best preparing all of it and sticking some in the fridge, which is a reet effort. We recieved two mega-pumpkins from my partner's mum and used half of one but couldn't be bothered to sort out the rest of it so the seeds started going mouldy. Luckily the flesh was still ok once we could be bothered to scrape the seeds out though.

happysunshine
Oct 19th, 2011, 10:46 AM
So, Crusty Rat, is your main sticking point that it's a big hunkin' veggie and difficult to conquer all at once?
Or is it that preparing it at all is just too much work (even in smaller chunks)?
I also glean that you'd rather not have to deal with the seeds (or have removing them be simpler).

Am I on track at all with what your aggravation is?

harpy
Oct 19th, 2011, 10:58 AM
My problem with pumpkins is the difficulty of cutting through the rind without severing any of my own limbs. I only ever tend to buy the very small ones because they are a bit easier to cut up.

I don't think pumpkins are quite so central to British winter celebrations as they are in North America so it hasn't been a huge difficulty, but I would still be interested to hear your recommendations happysunshine :)

happysunshine
Oct 19th, 2011, 11:04 AM
Thanks for that, harpy. After I've gathered a few "problems" to deal with, I'll nut out some solutions for everyone.

Does anyone have difficulties with "leftover" pumpkin (and want to figure out some yummy ways to serve them) or is that not an issue?

Crusty Rat
Oct 19th, 2011, 11:38 AM
Yeah, the size of 'em and the toughness, plus the tangly seed mess inside. I have ideas of what to do with it, it's just the effort.

Daffodil
Oct 19th, 2011, 03:23 PM
mainly for me is that they're not easy to prepare. i did perservere and made a lovely pumpkin soup last hallowe'en which i served in the empty pumpkin but it was too much hastle and i don't think i'll bother buying any this year.

tjay10
Oct 19th, 2011, 03:43 PM
Every year my kids wanted a pumpkin to carve and they and my husband have made some fantastic ones. My problem is I don't like to waste them so every year I have tried a new recipe to use the flesh and seeds and every year it turns out awful and nobody will eat it and gets thrown away! It's not my cooking by the way, I am a pretty good cook! So where do I go for good pumpkin recipes?

happysunshine
Oct 20th, 2011, 11:56 AM
Crusty Rat and harpy,

Have you tried one of the pumpkin carving kits out there?

I went out to a chef's shop today and was told that there are loads of different types of pumpkin carving kits available from a few quid to around 25 for the elegant ones. There's even a "Pumpkin Carving Kit for Dummies" (as in the "Dummies" series).

The ones I looked at today had a sharp scraper tool that helps with getting those yukky stringy seeds out. The mini saw and sharp poker (like an ice pick/knife combo) helps with cutting though the thick skin.

If you've tried those and they don't work for you, why not? What's the difficulty you encounter? I'll try to find a different solution ...


Daffodil and tjay10,

I'm checking on some really yummy recipes. (I'm trying them out myself first before I post them here). I also want to make sure they're easy and practical for you all.

So ....

Anyone have any other frustrations with using pumpkin?

How about someone with thoughts / solutions on the "problems" already mentioned?

Risker
Oct 20th, 2011, 01:46 PM
Use the flesh as a replacement for squash in recipes. Soup is good but keep it simple, onion, pumpkin, stock, don't be tempted to add soya cream as some recipes suggest. Salt and bake the seeds, they can then be used as crutons for the soup or added to salad, or as a snack, kept in an air tight container they will last a very long time.

For carving the pumpkin, stick a print out of the design on to it then using a toothpick, push through the paper and make indentations in the pumpkin all along the lines that need to be cut. To make them easier to cut use very thin blades such as craft knives/stanley blades but only for cutting in straight lines as otherwise they may break. Once you've made a hole to work with you can use a regular sharp kitchen knife to shape any curves. The carving kits are good as they include small serrated blades which are easily manoeuvrable.

Here's a recipe I made before - http://www.veganforum.com/forums/showthread.php?5738-Halloween-quot-Jack-O-Lanterns-quot&p=521227&viewfull=1#post521227

Daffodil
Oct 20th, 2011, 02:59 PM
Crusty Rat and harpy,

Have you tried one of the pumpkin carving kits out there?

I went out to a chef's shop today and was told that there are loads of different types of pumpkin carving kits available from a few quid to around 25 for the elegant ones. There's even a "Pumpkin Carving Kit for Dummies" (as in the "Dummies" series).

they sell them in Tesco for about 4 or 5, i was tempted the other day.



Daffodil and tjay10,

I'm checking on some really yummy recipes. (I'm trying them out myself first before I post them here). I also want to make sure they're easy and practical for you all.


fab thank you, i look forward to them :-)

tjay10
Oct 20th, 2011, 03:14 PM
Daffodil and tjay10,

I'm checking on some really yummy recipes. (I'm trying them out myself first before I post them here). I also want to make sure they're easy and practical for you all

That would be great, thanks will need recipe soon.

I have tried using pumpkin in place of squash, I really love squash but the pumpkin I just can't make taste good!

Fuzz Bunny
Oct 20th, 2011, 05:54 PM
I believe it might have to do with the variety of pumpkin you're using. The ones they grow and sell for carving are watery, bland and don't have a very good texture (kind of stringy and not dense) The ones that are grown for eating are very flavorful, dense and sweet. You can try steaming a small part of the pumpkin you're contemplating eating (maybe the eyes and mouth that were cut out) and see what the result is prior to devoting time and trouble and ingredients using a recipe that is meant for a different type of pumpkin.

If you shop at farmers' markets, the seller can tell you about their pumpkins. I have seen in grocery stores little signs that say "Great for Pies!" on certain pumpkins.Usually, if a pumpkin is big and super cheap, they're not going to be the kind that tastes good. At least that has been my experience in America.

If you'd rather not have the expense and environmental impact of a pumpkin carving set purchase, simply use an ice cream scoop for removing the seeds. Use a keyhole saw, chisels, or other types of wood working tools you might already have on hand (or could borrow) for carving.

harpy
Oct 20th, 2011, 05:57 PM
I didn't know there was such a thing as a pumpkin carving kit. I'll have a look as although our pumpkin consumption doesn't justify it it might be useful for the more recalcitrant squashes that turn up in our veg box now and then :D

ETA I might go on buying the small ones though as they are quite tasty compared with what Fuzz Bunny has just described :eek:

tjay10
Oct 20th, 2011, 08:59 PM
Fuzz Bunny,

I think you are right, we usually just buy the cheapest as it is mainly for the carving (have bought carving kits from asda and tesco and they only cost a few pounds but that was about 5 years ago)! I live near quite a lot of farm shops so will ask about the different varieties. Determined to make a pumpkin pie or something that we can actually eat!

Crusty Rat
Oct 20th, 2011, 09:47 PM
Crusty Rat and harpy,

Have you tried one of the pumpkin carving kits out there?

I went out to a chef's shop today and was told that there are loads of different types of pumpkin carving kits available from a few quid to around 25 for the elegant ones. There's even a "Pumpkin Carving Kit for Dummies" (as in the "Dummies" series).

The ones I looked at today had a sharp scraper tool that helps with getting those yukky stringy seeds out. The mini saw and sharp poker (like an ice pick/knife combo) helps with cutting though the thick skin.

Sounds pretty snazzy, but I rarely have money reaching beyond food, gas, electric and travel costs. A pumpkin carving kit would no doubt be useful for the rare occassions when I have masses of pumpkin (such as now) but equally I could put in a bit of extra effort with a knife and maybe one day be able to afford a bloody ladle for all the soup I've made!

happysunshine
Oct 21st, 2011, 09:32 AM
Hi everybody!

Here's a recipe I tried last night and it was delish! It's called "Autumn Risotto" ...

Ingrediemts:

1 Onion, diced
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 Cups Risotto (or you can use cooked basmati rice)
1 Cup White Wine (optional, or you can use a fresh bit of lemon juice)
4 Cups Vegetable Broth
1 Cup Pureed Pumpkin
1 Tsp Fresh Ginger, grated or minced
1 Tsp Nutmeg
1 Tbsp Fresh Basil, chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preparation:

Sautee the onion in olive oil over medium heat for 3-5 minutes or until soft. Add the risotto/rice. Allow to cook, stirring, for a minute or so. Slowly add the wine/lemon juice.

Add 1/2 cup the vegetable broth. Allow the moisture to cook off before adding the next 1/2 cup. Continue adding 1/2 cup of vegetable broth at a time until it's all in, stirring frequently.

Add remaining ingredients, stirring well, and cook for just a few minutes, until heated through.


That's it! I served it with my favourite spinach salad and it was a hit.

Now what I'll do is make a bigger batch , section it into smaller portions, and freeze them. Then I can enjoy a yummy meal in the middle of winter without having to think of what to make.

More recipes coming. Please let me know what you'd like to cook (main dishes, appetizers, desserts, what???)

I'll be your guinea pig ... ;)

happysunshine
Oct 22nd, 2011, 06:53 AM
I visited a pumpkin farm today (to continue my research) and asked the farmer's thoughts on what you all have been wondering about the big humongous pumpkins tasting yuckky and the smaller ones tasting better.

Here's what he said:

The wee pumpkins you get at the market are like babies. They still have all their flavour and zest stored for their (presumably) long lives ahead. The giant ones are like battle-worn soldiers who have developed tough hides (thus, the difficulty cutting them) and they've used up all their goodies inside (juices, flavour) getting to the size they are. The long tangle of strings is also a result of their long lives.

I asked him about the "quick grow" pumpkins that some farmers produce. They're huge but they don't take as long to grow because of special boosters the farmers use. He said that the pumpkins still have to "grow" and that the tough skin, strings, and flavourlessness is a result of the growth itself and doesn't have anything to do with the speed of that growth.

So, he recommended that if you want to rescue the scooped out pumpkin flesh from a big one, you'll need to add extra spices and flavour enhancers (such as vanilla for a pie, for example) as well as reduce the amount of other liquid you put in the recipe (because the bigger pumpkins are waterier). He said that it would probably be best to use this type of pumpkin in the pureed form.

You can puree it and freeze the puree to be used later in the year in yummy recipes.

Here's another recipe I tried ... and it's a keeper!

Pumpkin Tabouli

Ingredients:
• 1 Cup Bulgur Wheat
• 1 2/3 Cups Boiling Water
• 1 Cup Fresh Parsley, chopped
• Cup Fresh Mint, chopped
• 1 Cup Red Onion, diced
• 1-2 Cups Diced Pumpkin, roasted until tender
• Salt and Pepper to taste
• 3 Tbsp Roasted Pumpkin Seed Oil
• 2/3 Cup Olive Oil

Directions:
Combine bulgur and boiling water in a large bowl.
Cover and set aside to soak for about an hour.
Add oils, onions, parsley, mint, and pumpkin. Toss to combine, season to taste with salt and black pepper. Cover, and refrigerate until chilled. The flavor of the tabouli will improve over time (it's usually best after a night in the refrigerator).
Garnish with roasted pumpkin seeds for a little crunch.

VeganAthlete
Oct 22nd, 2011, 06:56 PM
I know it's sort of cheating and probably not as fresh, but I purchase cans of organic packed pumpkin everytime I go to the grocery store. In my defense, I am employed and a full time graduate student so I haven't tried to actually purchase the pumpkins, but I have been tempted on various occassions. Organic canned pumpkin (which, is supposedly pure pureed pumpkin) is so easy to use and add in oatmeal, pies, breads, cookies, soups, side dishes, etc. Plus add a little stevia and you have yourself a yummy organic (and low calorie) pumpkin pudding! Adding a little pumpkin pie spice, cinammon and stevia makes using pumpkin a magical treat!

happysunshine
Oct 25th, 2011, 01:45 AM
Okay, I was at my local Vegan Potluck this weekend and we had a small discussion about pumpkin woes.

The main complaint from the group was that they didn't know what to do with all the leftover pumpkin (like turkey at Thanksgiving).

It seems that their families get sick of it and they don't have enough room in the freezer to keep it (because there is SO MUCH of it).

Does anyone here have that problem?

I'm still trying to settle on what focus to have with my food course thesis at college.

Please let me know, everybody .... Thank you sooooo much in advance for your thoughts ....