Pumpkin-stretching

first_imgSeedsDried or roasted pumpkin seeds are a delightful treat, Andresssaid. And they’re easy to make.Carefully wash pumpkin seeds to remove the clinging, fibrous,pumpkin tissue. You can dry the seeds in the sun, in a dehydrator(for 1 to 2 hours at 115-120 degrees Fahrenheit) or in an oven(on “warm” for 3 to 4 hours). Stir them often to avoid scorchingthem.Once they’re dried, toss the seeds with oil and salt. Roast themin a preheated oven at 250 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes.Pumpkin and winter squash are low-acid foods capable ofsupporting the growth of Clostridium botulinum, a bacterium thatcauses botulism, a potentially fatal illness, Andress said.Safety”Home canning isn’t recommended for pumpkin butter, mashed orpureed pumpkin. It’s difficult to control important factors likethickness, acidity and water when pumpkin isn’t cubed,” she said.While pumpkin butters and preserves are popular, they can’t besafely canned for room temperature storage. Refrigerate or freezethese items to make sure they’re safe.To can pumpkin, you’ll need 16 pounds for seven quarts or 10pounds for nine pints. “Small pumpkins make better products,”Andress said. “Pumpkins and squash should have a hard rind andstringless, mature pulp.” CanningProcessing times and pressures vary greatly. Elevation andcontainer type and size determine the right levels. Visit theFood Preservation Web site to find the right levels at www.uga.edu/nchfp/. Orcontact your county University of Georgia Extension Serviceoffice.Only pressure-canning processing is recommended for canning cubedpumpkin. All low acid foods, including pumpkin, must be cannedusing tested pressure-canning processes, Andress said.For more information about preserving pumpkins or any other food,visit the National Center for Home Food Preservation Web site atwww.homefoodpreservation.com.Contact the experts at (706) 542-3773 or [email protected](April Reese is a writer for the National Center for Home FoodPreservation with the University of Georgia College of Family andConsumer Sciences.) By April ReeseUniversity of GeorgiaInstead of carving a face in your Halloween pumpkin, make it dodouble duty. Use nontoxic paint or marker pens to create ajack-o’-lantern face instead, and then harvest the vegetableafter the holiday.Elizabeth Andress, project director for the National Center forHome Food Preservation, says preserving pumpkins can be fun anddelicious.”After Halloween has passed, the pumpkin flesh inside can bepreserved by canning, drying or freezing and makes excellentfreezer or refrigerator preserves,” Andress said. “Pumpkin seedscan also be dried or roasted for a delicious treat.”FreezingPut pumpkin butter or mashed and pureed pumpkin in the freezer.”Freezing is the easiest way to preserve pumpkin and yields thebest quality product,” Andress said. Wash the pumpkin. Remove the seeds, cut it into 1-inch-wideslices and peel it.Cut the flesh into 1-inch cubes. Place it in a saucepan withenough water to cover it.Boil it 2 minutes in water.Fill the jars with the cubes and the cooking liquid, leaving1-inch headspace. Make sure the liquid covers the cubes.Adjust the lids and process the jars. Select full-colored, mature pumpkins with fine texture.Wash and cut the pumpkin into cooking-size sections, andremove the seeds.Cook it until it’s soft in boiling water, steam, a pressurecooker or an oven. Then remove the pulp from the rind and mash it.Place the pan containing pumpkin pulp in cold water to coolit, stirring occasionally.Pack it into rigid containers, leaving headspace, and freezeit.last_img

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