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This month's notes: April 2014: The weather is great, apples are ripe (see our apple varieties guide), hayrides, Fall fun and corn mazes are open now! See this page for hundreds of easy canning and freezing instructions/recipes, canning equipment guide! Also make your own ice cream - see How to make ice cream and ice cream making equipment and manuals. Then see each state's crop availability calendar for more specific dates of upcoming crops. Organic farms are identified in green!  See our guide to local fruit and vegetable festivals!. Please tell the farms you found them here - and ask them to update their information!!!!

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How to Make Homemade Pumpkin Pie - from a Real Pumpkin, Not a Can, with No Added Sugar!

You probably take canned pumpkin for granted.  You're there, the can is there, there's a pumpkin on the label... open it and mix it up with spices to make a pie, right?  Ah, but a pumpkin pie made from a fresh pumpkin tastes so much better than the glop that was processed last year! And perhaps you are diabetic or otherwise need to cut down on sugar and carbs? Here's how to do it, complete instructions in easy steps and completely illustrated. And it is much easier than you think, using my "patented" tips and tricks! 

Click here for a PDF print version

Directions for Making No-Added Sugar Pumpkin Pie from Scratch

Ingredients and Equipment

  • a pie pumpkin (see step 1)
  • A sharp, large serrated knife
  • an ice cream scoop
  • a large microwaveable bowl or large pot

Recipe and Directions

Step 1 - Get your pie pumpkin

"Pie pumpkins" are smaller, sweeter, less grainy textured pumpkins than the usual jack-o-lantern types.  grocery stores usually carry them in late September through December in the U.S.   Note: the Libby's can of cooked pumpkin is just there for reference - it is the small can, so that gives you an idea of the size of a typical pie pumpkin.  They're only about 8 inches in diameter.

Just like selecting any squash, look for one that is firm, no bruises or soft spots, and a good orange color.

Step 2 - Prepare the pumpkin for cooking

Wash the exterior of the pumpkin in cool or warm water, no soap.

Cut the pumpkin in half.  A serrated knife and a sawing motion works best - a smooth knife is more likely to slip and hurt you!

 

Step 3 - Scoop out the seeds...

And scrape the insides.  You want to get out that stringy, dangly stuff that coats the inside surface.  I find a heavy ice cream scoop works great for this.

Note: SAVE THE SEEDS:

The seeds can be used either to plant pumpkins next year, or roasted to eat this year! Place them in a bowl of water and rub them between your hands.  then pick out the orange buts (throw that away) and drain off the water. Spread them out on a clean towel or paper towel to dry and they're ready to save for next year's planting or roast.  Click here for roasting instructions! (opens in a new window)

Step 4 - Put it in a microwaveable bowl

Remove the stem, and put the pumpkin into a microwaveable. You may need to cut the pumpkin further to make it fit.  The fewer the number of pieces, the easier it will to scoop out the cooked pumpkin afterwards.

Put a couple of inches of water in the bowl, cover it, and put in the microwave.

Step 5 - Cook the pumpkin until soft

Cook for 15 minutes on high, check to see if it is soft, then repeat in smaller increments of time until it is soft enough to scoop the innards out.  Normally it takes 20 or 30 minutes in total.

Note: You CAN cook it on the stovetop; it will just take longer (almost twice as long)

 

 

Step 6 - Scoop out the cooked pumpkin

Using a broad, smooth spoon, (such as a tablespoon) gently lift and scoop the cooked pumpkin out of the skin.  It should separate easily an in fairly large chucks, if the pumpkin is cooked enough.

 

Step 7 - Puree the pumpkin

To get a nice, smooth consistency, I use a Pillsbury hand blender.  A regular blender works, too (unless you made a few frozen daiquiris and drank them first..). Or even just a hand mixer with time and patience.

With the hand blender, it just takes 2 or 3 minutes!

 

 

Step 7 - Done with the pumpkin!

The pumpkin is now cooked and ready for the pie recipe.  Get the frozen daiquiris out from step 7 and take a break! :)

 

Step 8 - Make the pie crust

Yes, I know there are ready-made pie crusts in the frozen section at the store, but they really are bland and doughy.  A flaky crust is easy to make!~

It is also time to start preheating the oven.  Turn it on and set it to 425 F (200 C, for those in Europe)

Click here for illustrated pie crust instructions!
(it will open in a new window)

Step 9 - Mix the pie contents

All the hard work is behind you! Here's where it gets really easy. If you start with a fresh 8" pie pumpkin, you will get about 3 cups of cooked, mashed pumpkin. The right amount of ingredients for this is as follows:

Mix well using a hand blender or mixer.

Step 10 - Pour into the pie crust

I like a deep, full pie, so I fill it right up to about one quarter to one half inch from the very top.

Don't be surprised if the mixture is very runny!  It may start as a soupy liquid, but it will firm up nicely in the oven! Note: the pie crust is brown because I used whole wheat flour! Tastes the same but is healthier.

TIP: What do you do if you end up with more filling than will fit in your pie crust(s)?  Easy!  Of course, you can make another, smaller pie crust and fill a small pie pan... or just grease any baking dish, of a size that the extra filling will fill to a depth of about 2 inches (see the photo at right), and pour the extra filling in.. then bake it.  It will be a crustless pumpkin pie that kids especially love! 

Step 11 - Bake the pie

Bake at 425 F (210 C ) for the first 15 minutes, then turn the temperature down to 350 F  ( 175 C ) and bake another 45 to 60 minutes, until a clean knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

Here is the finished pie, right out of the oven:

I use a blunt table knife to test the pie.  The below has already been stuck in the pie, and you see it comes out pretty clean, when the pie is done.

Step 12 - Cool the pie

And enjoy! Especially with whipped cream!

 

 

 

 

 

Complete Water Bath Canner Kit

This is the same type of  standard canner that my grandmother used to make everything from applesauce to jams and jellies to tomato and spaghetti sauce!. This complete kit includes everything you need: the canner, jar rack, jar grabber tongs, lid lifting wand, six pint jars with lids and rings, a plastic funnel, labels, bubble freer, and the bible of canning, the Ball Blue Book. You'll never need anything else except more jars and lids!
Price: $49.99 

Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
 

Deluxe Food Strainer & Sauce Maker

D220-DLXRetail: $89.95Our price: $69.00

Availability: Usually ships the next business day.

Click here for more information, other strainers and supplies or to order!

With the Deluxe Food Strainer/Sauce Maker, you can make creamy apple sauce and smooth tomato sauce without having to peel and core! This muli-use strainer forces food through a stainless steel screen, automatically separating the juice and pulp from the seeds, shins, and stems. Perfect for purees, creamed soups, baby foods, pie filling, juices, jams, and more. Save time, effort, and money by preparing your own tasty sauces to be used immediately or boiled for future use. Do bushels with ease and in a fraction of the time. Includes the tomato/apple screen with easy twist on design and instruction/recipe booklet.

The Deluxe model comes with the standard Tomato/Apple Screen; as well as the Berry Screen, Pumpkin Screen, and Grape Spiral. Note

     

Lids, Rings, Jars, mixes, pectin, etc.

Need lids, rings and replacement jars?  Or pectin to make jam, spaghetti sauce or salsa mix or pickle mixes?  Get them all here, and usually at lower prices than your local store!

Get them all here at the best prices on the internet!

Can't find the equipment?  We ship to all 50 states! Just email us!

This page was updated on 9-Aug-2013

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