by Tammy Taylor~
The native American Indians planted a symbiotic garden called the ‘Three Sisters Garden’. In this garden they planted corn – a staple in their diet, but it was also a heavy nitrogen feeder from the soil. At the base of the corn plants they planted green beans to help replenish the nitrogen in the soil. The corn repaid the bean’s care by giving them a hearty stalk to climb upon & support the bean plant. Then squash was planted between the corn plants. The squash benefited from the additional nitrogen as well, plus the large leaves of the squash vine would cover the soil to moderate the summer temps, preserve moisture and act as a living mulch for the beans and corn. All plants benefiting each other. Love it!
This year I planted heirloom Sugar-Pie Pumpkins for the squash requirement of my Three Sisters Garden. I like to use the pumpkin puree for my favorite homemade Pumpkin Granola. I now have several pumpkins that are now ready to come off the vine so I’ll be cooking them up into pumpkin puree.
Aaaahhhh… nothing quite says “Fall is finally HERE!” like pumpkin #amiright? I’m cooking up my heirloom Sugar Pie Pumpkin today for that delicious organic pumpkin puree I crave. Making pumpkin puree is very easy and although I typically cook my pumpkin outside in my *Solar Oven, you can cook it quite easily in your convention oven if you wish.
Cooking Fresh Pumpkin For Puree
Simply cut the pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds and pulp from the center and place the pumpkin cut-side down on a baking dish with about a cup or two water added. The water and the pumpkin being cut-side down will help steam the pumpkin. Set the oven on 350 degrees and let cook until fork tender (about 45 minutes.) Let it cool and then scrape the cooked pumpkin into a large bowl, leaving the dark orange rind for your compost. I like to let the pumpkin cool a bit in the bowl & pour off the liquid.
Then I use my stick blender to blend it into pumpkiny goodness. I use my large *silicone muffin pan to freeze the puree in 1-cup increments. The silicone makes it easy to pop these 1-cup frozen disks out. Then I place them in a freezer bag, being sure to label the contents. I just pop it into the freezer until I need it. When I’m in the mood to make my granola I pull out 2 frozen disks and let them thaw in the fridge overnight. Then the next morning I use it to make my pumpkin granola.
Heirloom Seeds Are Valuable
Of COURSE I’m going to save the seeds from these pumpkins – heck that’s one of the best reasons to plant heirloom in the first place. Unlike hybrid seeds, heirloom seeds come back true to the mother plant. Hybrids may revert back to a less satisfactory plant than the plant from which you harvested. I plant heirlooms so I can replant every year and expect the same great results without reverting to buying seeds every year.
NOTE: I often offer these heirloom pumpkin seeds straight from my garden to yours! Check out my online store!
You can see our other SOLAR cooking articles here
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