Frugal Living

Pumpkin Time!


It’s that time of the year again, here in Australia. 
It’s Pumpkin planting time.

In the history of our family’s vegetable garden, we have planted all sorts of pumpkins. We even tried the huge ones and managed to grow some very big ones. The down side was that the hard working bees cross pollinated the small tasty varieties with the large tasteless pumpkins and we got really big versions of all sorts of pumpkins that did not have much flavour.

Now, we only plant one variety. We have chosen the Butternut pumpkin which is so sweet that it could be mistaken for sweet potato when you eat it. Our home grown ones are a deep orange in the centre. In our experience, the deeper the orange colour, the sweeter the pumpkin is. The skin of this variety is quite soft and can be left on for cooking.

We plant our seeds directly in the ground as soon as the warmer weather comes in Spring. I save my own seeds every year, and have done so for years now. It is easy to do. When you scoop out the seeds as you prepare the pumpkin for cooking, just place the wet seeds between two paper towels or sheets of paper. You can write the date and how big and tasty the pumpkin was on the paper, for future reference. You can do this for all vegetable seeds. Just place the paper sheets on a shelf for a few days and the seeds will dry out and stick to the paper. The next year, when you are ready to plant, you can just tear the paper and plant it with the seed. Keep your sheets of paper in a stack in a container. This is an easy way to file and store your seeds. 

For a while, I was saving every single seed that came through my kitchen. Of course, I did not need so many. Now I only save a few pumpkins’ seeds. It just seemed so wrong to throw them out though. The chickens do love them but I have found out that pumpkins seeds have great nutritional value. I have since successfully sprouted them for salads. They sprout very quickly and are very yummy. All you do is get a glass jar, put the rinsed pumpkin seeds in the jar ( about 1cm thick ), and cover the top of the jar with a piece of fabric secured with a rubber band. Every day rinse the seeds with water and drain the seeds by putting the jar upside down and on edge, so the excess water can run out. Then place it upright on a window sill, or in natural light, but not in direct sunlight. You will have yummy sprouts in a few days, and sprouts are so good for you. 

Sprouting only really works well in the hotter weather months. We found another way to eat them in the colder weather months. We roast them and they are delicious. They taste a bit like sesame seeds. All you have to do is pop the seeds on a tray and place them in the oven on the bottom rack while you are roasting the vegies on the top rack. Sometimes I roll them in butter and salt/pepper while they are still hot. This is a nice treat and often my kids will eat them while they are waiting for dinner. You can also store the roasted seeds after they have cooled and eat them like nuts, or place them on top of your homemade bread. 

Roasting is my favourite way to cook vegetables. My pumpkin, potato, onion, carrots, beetroot etc., are all roasted in an oven proof dish. I dot the top of the vegetables with Coconut Oil but you could use Olive oil too. They are roasted all together in one dish, encouraging the flavours to mix. The vegetables all cook in their own juice which makes a really nice gravy. Just place the vegetables in the oven for one hour at 180 degrees centigrade and it’s done. I learned this roasting method from a good friend. It’s a great way to learn new ideas. Be observant, ask and learn.

Pumpkins are quite easy to grow and they store so well. After they are harvested at the end of Summer, just place them in a cool airy place out of the sun and you will have pumpkin ready at hand for the next few months. They do like their water, especially while they are growing their roots deep. I like to cut the bottom out of a plastic plant pot and place it around my seedlings. This keeps the soil and mulch in around the plant, some pests away, and the water stays directly at the base of the plant and doesn’t run off. It also creates a warmer place for the seed to get started.

Why don’t you try planting some seeds in your normal garden? You can save the seeds of a tasty pumpkin that you are eating for dinner. Enjoy!

God Bless,
Written by Guest Blogger
Mrs. Evelyn Hair
(Our Beautiful Mother)

Frugal Living, natural health, homesteading, farm living, our farm, money saving, living on nothing, living naturally, feeding a family on less, veggies, vegetables, good food, storing food, drying seeds, sprouting , roasted food, roast, recipes, how to make food last, 

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