Whimsical and Homespun Art Creations with a Little Rural Living Thrown In

Sunday, November 18, 2012

How to Bake a Whole Sugar Pumpkin to Process and Freeze

While Farmerboy was shopping for his Halloween pumpkins to carve, he brought home three sugar (or commonly tagged "pumpkin pie") pumpkins.  Why?  Who knows... Apparently, he felt that his mother would like to take on the challenge of making her own pumpkin puree from scratch.  UGH!!  My mind was filled with the idea of cutting the tough rinds, scraping out the seeds, cubing and cooking the remaining pumpkin.  The end result would probably be me with a soupy mess!  :(   

I was telling my Mom about my troubles one afternoon, when she mentioned having seen a program on TV that processed the pumpkins by baking them whole.  What?  I am not going to lie here... My mind was filled with exploding pumpkins and seedy guts hanging all over my oven.  I could tell later that evening that Mr. Hollow's thinking wasn't much different.  But, after a little research that surprisingly brought few results, my mind was made up to take a stab at this short cut.   Armed with very little knowledge (and after waiting for Mr. Hollow to leave for work), the little pumpkins went into the oven.  This is how I prepared and baked them:

All three pumpkins were washed and dried.  They were rubbed all over with a paper towel-- moistened in olive oil.  I took a pointed steak knife and pierced the rind all over (was hoping this would deter any explosions!).  They were then set directly on the oven rack with a cookie sheet on the rack immediately below them to catch any run off.  Next, I turned the oven on 400 degrees and let them bake for about an hour.  They were checked by pushing a knife through the pumpkin and into the flesh.  The rind and flesh were soft, so I knew that they were finished baking. The picture below is how they looked after removal from the oven.

 As you can see from the skin of the pumpkins in the photo below, I let them sit and cool for an hour.  They started to deflate and the rinds began to buckle.  Each pumpkin cut easily into quarters as if slicing through butter!  I used a wooden spoon to gently remove the seeds and loose stringy flesh.  Then, the same spoon slid the golden flesh effortlessly from the rind.  Due to the long cooling off period, some of the rinds could even be peeled by hand from the flesh.  How easy is that?

My Braun hand held processor turned the pumpkin flesh into a smooth puree.  Three pumpkins yielded 5 containers of pumpkin puree at 2 cups each.  Four of the containers are now in the deep freeze.  Not a bad haul for an afternoon of experimenting! :)

The next test was to make a pie.  I noticed that the pumpkin did seem a little runnier in the mixing stage... And the pie did bake a little longer than my pies made with canned pumpkin... But I am happy to say that it tasted absolutely perfect!

Did I ever tell you that my all time favorite dessert is Pumpkin Pie?    I don't even need Cool Whip to enjoy it! :)

I do not know if planting, harvesting and processing pumpkins on a larger scale is in my future, but the idea is certainly more tempting with this method! :)

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Thrifty Find ~ Singer 99k Sewing Machine

Monday was a great day to take off for the local thrift store to drop off a few boxes and bags of goods that needed to find a new home.  It always makes me feel better to lighten the load! :)  I browsed around the store to check out the wool sweaters and was thrilled to find one with some gorgeous pastel stripes.  Then, I happened upon some dress slacks for work... Double Score!!  How much more could a girl ask for?  So, my next stop was the check out counter.  One of the ladies standing in the vicinity suggested that I lay down my items and take a look up front.  My eye spied some farm toys in the distance, so I made a beeline to them and noticed that they were not vintage... :(   Feeling as though my luck filled hunt was over, I headed back down the isle to the counter.  One parting glance to the front ledge of the store stopped me in my tracks ... a Singer 99k with its original carrier sat gleaming in the light of the window.  SWEET!

Now I will be candidly honest and admit that I have repeatedly told Mr. Hollow during our travels that collecting sewing machines was not for me due to size and space.  (As if that ever stopped me with my other collections! ;) )  We have seen a few heavily used Singer models here and there, and they never really spoke to me. ( Restoration on mechanical items isn't a big desire of mine or more importantly to Mr. Hollow.)  But I can honestly say, this nearly mint machine took my breath away. *sigh*

My camera does not do it justice.  Although this model isn't as desired as the freestanding featherweight predecessors, the 99k is still an example of fine craftsmanship that has the ability to last through the test of time.  Don't you just love the work light mounted on the back?  Whoever had owned this 99k obviously cherished it, since its gleaming black paint and ornate design have only a few minor blemishes.  Truly an amazing fact... Since after checking out the serial number,  I found out this machine was shipped new from Kilbowie, Scotland on September 11, 1954.   

These Singers are such a stark contrast to the plastic that has taken over many of the modern day counterparts.  Not that there aren't great machines out there... Don't get me wrong... But as with my Kenmores, I do tend to favor the metal bodied machines.  Maybe, it is my fear of breaking things! ;) 

The Singer 99k tilts on metal posts that fit into round slots at the back of the base.  When I got home, I looked under the machine and found some extra Singer needles, a pile of bobbins, the original tube of oil, original manual, and a slew of feet that offer more options than I could ever dream of!

Now seriously... How can you go wrong buying any working sewing machine for $18.00?