Pumpkins are the one vege-fruit [they're officially classified as a fruit but are commonly known as a vegetable] that is 100% American. Many of the other foods we eat hail from all ends of the earth but pumpkins, aah pumpkins, are one of our only homegrown, patriotic symbols that America does have roots in food and an image that is different, at least for a short time in the calendar year, than those tragically familiar yellow arches. Better yet, they are one of the few foods that can't be found out of season, increasing their charm to, well, near immortal.
Well, whatever it is about these beautiful icons of hope, home, and harvest that captures me, I grow them, eat them, freeze them, and stare at them, somehow believing that if I don't, they'll leave me for good and those annoying, much-to-common arches will be crowned our king.
So here is my salute to the pumpkin, to America and to you.
[CREAMY PUMPKIN ICE CREAM]
A special note: Before I share this recipe, I'm going to let you in on a little secret I discovered, perhaps by accident, during one of my ice cream making adventures. I decided to try brown rice syrup as a sweetener in lieu of maple syrup or honey and found that it not only gives subtle sweetness but also keeps the ice cream from freezing into one solid mass. Instead, you will find it comes out of the freezer ready to be served, no thaw time necessary!
2 c. regular organic coconut milk
2 c. frozen pumpkin chunks [unfrozen puree would also work here]
1 c. brown rice syrup [or to taste]
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 - 2 tsp. each ground nutmeg, cloves, allspice, and ginger [more or less to taste]
2 - 3 tsp. ground cinnamon [more or less to taste]
Refrigerate coconut milk [and pumpkin puree if using] until cold. In a blender, mix all ingredients until very smooth. Start with the lesser amounts of spices and work your way up until the taste you want is achieved. You can also add more pumpkin for stronger flavor.
Pour into ice cream maker [if using] or glass container. Make to manufacturer's instructions or cover and freeze until firm.
Serve with a sprinkle of nutmeg and some gingersnap cookies.
[BABY'S PUMPKIN PORRIDGE]
1/3 c. quinoa, finely ground
1 c. purified water
Bring water to boil in small saucepan. Add quinoa and cook until creamy, appx. 90 seconds, stirring constantly. Set aside 1/2 cup and store the remaining quinoa in a glass container, refrigerated, for up to 3 days.
1/2 c. organic pumpkin [cubed or puree]**
1/2 c. cooked quinoa cream [from above]
1/2 c. organic applesauce*
dash each of cinnamon and nutmeg
If using cubed pumpkin, place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. If using puree, simply combine all ingredients, stirring until well mixed.
*Making your own applesauce: wash, peel [or not, I usually don't], slice and core organic apples of choice [if using something other than organic apples, please wash really well and peel]. Place in a saucepan and add about 1/2 inch of purified water. Bring to boil over high heat and then reduce heat to low. Simmer until apples are very soft. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly [15 - 20 minutes]. Place all [juice and apples] in blender and blend on med-high until very smooth. Freeze in ice cube trays for easy use or refrigerate for up to 3 days.
**Making your own pumpkin puree: Making homemade pumpkin puree is really easy and the taste is worth any effort. I prefer the cheese or pie pumpkin varieties.
Carefully cut the top [stem area] off the pumpkin [cut about an inch or two away from the stem in a circle] and remove all seeds and strings. Cut pumpkin into wedges, place on parchment paper lined cookie sheet, and bake at 425 degrees for 30 minutes or until very soft. Allow to cool about 10 - 15 minutes and then gently remove pumpkin skins using hands [be careful, very hot!] or knife. Place pumpkin chunks in food processor and blend until very smooth. Store in freezer.