Here’s a good reason to do so:
Why wait for a holiday? Get a pumpkin as soon as possible if you haven’t grown one this year.
Why toss a good pumpkin?
When you have a pumpkin left over from Halloween and Thanksgiving, what can you do with it? If it is still firm, you can bake it and use it for making holiday treats, saving some of the puree in the freezer for later.
How to bake a pumpkin
- Cut pumpkin open and scoop out the seeds. Place pumpkin halves facedown in a baking dish. Add 1/2″ of water to pan: this helps keep the pumpkin flesh moist.
- Bake at 450º until you can pierce the skin with a fork (about 45 minutes to an hour).
- Scoop flesh out of shell with a spoon.
- Once the pumpkin is cooked, simply use a food processor or blender to whip it into a pumpkin puree.
You can store unused portions of the pumpkin puree in the refrigerator, or freeze in ziplock bags until you are ready to use it.
This recipe is a favorite that two teen girls I know baked on their own this Thanksgiving.
Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting
- 4 eggs
- 1 2/3 c sugar
- 1 c vegetable oil
- 1 c pumpkin puree
- 2 c sifted all-purpose flour
- 2 t baking powder
- 2 t ground pumpkin pie spice
- 1 1/2 t salt
- 1 t baking soda
- 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 c butter or margarine, softened
- 2 c sifted confectioners’ sugar
- 1 t vanilla extract
- Small pinch of salt to taste
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Using an electric mixer at medium speed, combine the eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin until light and fluffy. Stir together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and mix at low speed until thoroughly combined and the batter is smooth. Spread the batter into a greased 13 by 10-inch baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool completely before frosting. Cut into bars.
To make the icing: Combine the cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the sugar and mix at low speed until combined. Stir in the vanilla and mix again. Spread on cooled pumpkin bars. The girls decided to sprinkle the frosted bars with cinnamon.
Too far gone?
If my pumpkin has not held up well, I heave it out into the garden to reproduce itself naturally. This is an informal, to say the least, form of ‘wintersowing’. In some years, as I walk in the late spring garden, I have seen a beautiful pumpkin vine, three feet across with several lovely blossoms forming on it. These vines make a luscious treat for a lucky deer since I have no fences to prevent it.