Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Pumpkins in the springtime

Once upon a time, it was de rigeur for a family to store part of the fall veggie/fruit harvest. With the arrival of winter, most gardens ceased to yield, so saving some of the bounty from summer-fall made good sense for winter eats.

Food that wasn't salted, canned or dried was put into natural cold storage. Root cellars and the like. Some of it spoiled, of course. Even now, some of us are hard-pressed to keep food from spoiling in our own larders. Even with refrigeration. I don't have a subzero, but I imagine food in even the coldest of cold does not escape some sort of deterioration (?).

At this writing, I don't doubt that there's meat with freezer burn in my freezer. In the vegetable crisper, we might discover a produce bag of limp green onions, some spent celery and long forgotten zucchini that's turned slimy ...

So much for the adage 'waste not want not'.
I/we should resolve only to buy food that gets eaten up before it rots and needs to be tossed.

Case in point:
Every year for the past thirty or so, I inadvertently /unintentionally put a pumpkin or two into natural cold storage.
There always seems to be a couple of leftover winter squashes from October that don't get carved into Jack O' Lanterns or made into pumpkin pies.

Choosing the thick-walled deep ridged orange-y-est pumpkins for both carving and cooking, my intention has always been to cook any remaining squashes into rich yummy puree. The puree would be processed and plopped into the freezer for future pumpkin-based eats.
Pumpkin breads and cinnamon-nutmeg spiced pies in March.

True confession: I never get round to the task. The pumpkins are left around the house as 'decor' for months afterwards. Many months.
I look at them in passing and think to myself: 'Today I will bake and mash and freeze the bounty'.
Nevah hoppen.
Round about May, June or July - the pumpkins finally begin to show signs of rotting.
Funny how they do that.

Last winter was a shortish one.
Spring sprung early, punctuated by a string of warm summer-like days.
The three pumpkins I've had in our climate-controlled house were moved out to the garage a couple months ago. There they've had to withstand greater temperature extremes of hot and cold.

It didn't take long for two to soften and sag into semi-soggy masses right there on the back steps leading down to the garage. It saddened me to bag and dispose of them.

Pictured here is the last of the three.
It too has a telltale fuzzy spot of mold.

Guess I won't be cooking any fresh pumpkin pie puree this year either.
I would'a I should'a I could'a.


Conn said...

john and i picked pumpkins one october in upsate new york. we took them home and decorated the house and terrace with them. the ones on the terrace did not fare well into december but the indoor grouping lasted until may if i remember correctly. one day i picked one up and the bottom portion remained on the table... eww.
time for the trash.

we are now attemptong to grow gourds here and are looking forward to making a drum or two out of one.
fingers crossed dat it will hoppen.

jessierose said...

So every year when I get sick of my pumpkins in January and give them to you this is what becomes of them?

baffle said...

C ~ Best of luck with your gourds - be sure to turn them into drums before the island humidity gets to 'em!

j ~ Er, ah, yes.
For better or worse.
At least they're appreciated for many more months!

rodeathoroughbred said...

No throwing rotten pumpkins in the trash!

Put the soft gooey things on a pile of dirt.


Pumpkins next year!

Climbing into the saddle on tall horses ain't easy

baffle said...

Good idea!
Aforementioned rotting pumpkin will be tossed into the garden raised bed (garden area is caged-in). Not much sun there though. Do you think the bear will tear down the fence to get at the pumpkin? The deer can't, but Mr. Bear...welll....

justducky said...

Would you watch out for the bear already!

You're scarin' me!

Conn said...

well if you are even slightly worried about the bear... as i would be.. then i might just carve out the seeds and plant those. you scarin' me too.