The mad professor of pumpkin

One more day. One more night.

That’s until I can see my rheumatologist tomorrow and get steroid injections for the bursitis in my hips. The pain has gotten worse each day. I sure hope they work.

In other news, Mr. Wren has discovered the myriad joys of cooked pumpkin. He bought two very large pumpkins just before Hallowe’en, intending to carve scary faces in them for the trick-or-treaters. Well, he didn’t get around to it, and no kids dropped by to frighten us into parting with handfuls of candy, anyway. So there we were with two gigantic pumpkins. And all that candy…

He got online and started looking up recipes. I have to admit I’ve never had pumpkin in anything but pumpkin pie. I’m just fond enough of it to eat a slice at Thanksgiving, and if it’s served, at Christmas. I forget all about it the rest of the year. I’m just not big on pumpkin pie, or any pie, to be honest.

Well, OK. Maybe blackberry pie with vanilla bean ice cream. But I haven’t had any of that in more years than I can remember.

Anyhow, two humongous pumpkins. I’ve never had it as a main course or a side dish before, but I’m game. So Mr. Wren got the turkey roaster out, cleaned out one of the pumpkins, cut it in half, and roasted it a half at a time because it was so big. Both halves wouldn’t fit in the oven at the same time. He pan-roasted the seeds later, and the other pumpkin is currently doing duty as an autumn decoration on the hearth. Since it’s roughly the size of a beach ball, you can’t miss it.

The roasted pumpkin yielded about 20 cups of pumpkin flesh, which Mr. Wren pureed in his trusty, heavy-duty VitaMix blender (it sounds like a jet engine when he turns it on, so I retired to my den and put soothing music on to drown it out while the pureeing commenced). Two cups of the pumpkin went into a recipe called “Baked Pumpkin,” which turned out to be a sort of pumpkin custard. It tasted like pumpkin pie without a crust.

Then he went out and bought two frozen pie crusts. Four more cups of pumpkin was used to make … two pumpkin pies, sweetened with honey rather than sugar. I had a slice this morning for breakfast. It’s good. Tastes like pumpkin pie. It’ll do me until next fall.

We still have fourteen cups of pureed pumpkin, which we put in 2-cup bags in the freezer. We’ll probably use some of them in pumpkin bread. And pumpkin cake. Maybe pumpkin cookies. Pumpkin pops? Hmmm.

Upon further investigation, Mr. Wren discovered that recipes for non-desert pumpkin mostly call for the flesh to be cubed. So before we can try any of those, he’ll need to roast the other pumpkin and cube it. In the meantime, maybe we can use some of the pureed stuff for pumpkin soup.

Mr. Wren is a very large fellow. He has no concept of “small” or “moderate.” He doesn’t cook very often, but once he gets his mind set on it, he cooks enough for a battalion.  And, while he used recipes this time, he usually refuses to follow recipes when he cooks. Did I mention he doesn’t know how to cook? We generally end up with humongous quantities of … something… that we all gamely eat a little of (including him) and then, in desperation, freeze the rest in several gallon bags for “another time.” At this moment, I have many big frozen pillows of Mr. Wren’s cooking experiments in my freezer that have been there for … years. I don’t really know what’s in them anymore. I’m afraid to thaw them out.

I made him put the puree in smaller, more usable bags and write “pureed pumpkin” with the date on them, this time. We’ll use them, somehow. And I expect that we’ll use the huge quantities of cubed pumpkin to come, too, after a while.

I may turn into a pumpkin. I sure hope I like it.

12 thoughts on “The mad professor of pumpkin

  1. MMM…..pumpkin. We have two in our kitchen ready to eat. We love cooking pumpkin. They are great in muffins or as a side dish for dinner.


  2. Oh Wren – thanks for making me laugh, and best of luck with the steroids for the bursitis. I was hoping you were going to give us a fabulous pumpkin recipe here, but hey, perhaps you’ll discover one and that’ll be the next post … I reckon the trouble with pumpkin is it doesn’t actually taste of anything.


    • As soon as I find a fabulous pumpkin recipe, I’ll certainly share it. Mr Wren’s pies were very tasty, so maybe I’ll share that one. I’m hoping to find recipes that aren’t actually desserts, though, since I’m still (as always) trying to lose or at least maintain my weight. Desserts, I don’t need, and I have very little willpower when they’re just sitting there, waiting to be devoured.

      I shall be strong… 😉


    • Not a fan of pumkin pie myself, but pumpking mouse or pumkin mouse pie or pumpkin cheesecake might be good. Wonder what spices would be best in pumpkin soup.


      • Hmmmm… pumpkin cheesecake sounds interesting. I’ll have to make it and give most of it away, though (see my reply to Polly, here). As for the pumpkin soup, the recipes I’ve looked at so far called for some cinnamon and nutmeg, and even hot chilies. Should be fun trying them out. I have SO much pumpkin puree to use!


    • Thanks, Andrew. I got them today. So far, no joy, but I understand it can take a few days. My fingers are crossed!


  3. My wifes parents found a peanut squash and presented it as a gift to us on thier visit to New York. We found out that we had a big squash that had a peanut like growth on the outside and was in the pumpkin family. With very few seeds and lots of flesh, this thing yielded two pies, several pounds of baked squash, and lots of frozen orange stuff. The good news is that this squash had very good flavor, just a bit milder, but similar to a butternut squash. This has been a very rough fall for me so far, but at least I had a good summer. The late night swelling really gets to me sometimes. Reading about you and your family is a good escape. Keep fighting the Rheuma monster.



  4. Great to hear from you, Phil!

    I’ve never heard of peanut squash–I’ll keep an eye open for it. And I do like butternut squash. If I didn’t have so much pumpkin to use, I’d probably get one… heheh.

    I’m sorry your autumn has been so rough, RA-wise. Weather changes and cold, wet weather definitely can affect inflammation levels, so I do absolutely understand. I hope you get some relief from the pain and disability soon. And hey, we can all use a good escape now and then–I’m delighted that my blog can provide a little of it.

    Take good care of yourself. Sending plenty of calm and comfort your way–and rest assured, my fight against the rheuma-dragon continues. Wishing you successful battles, as well. 🙂


  5. I hope that by now your steroid shots have kicked in. In my experience, it can take up to a week for it to start working it’s magic, so hopefully soon…

    Good luck with the pumpkin.


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