Contributor Lori Castner – Pumpkin Time Again

“Oh, here comes another pumpkin pie!” someone lamented as the lady ahead of me deposited her offering for the Fall church potluck on the already-full table. Thank goodness I had brought brownies.

But for me, especially during the months of October through December, there simply cannot be too much pumpkin. That was even true the November my husband brought a 12-pound pumpkin for me to cook and bake into pumpkin pies. When I felt its size and weight, I shrieked with dismay, “What do you expect me to do with this huge thing?”

Rising to the challenge, I cut the 18-inch diameter pumpkin into huge wedges, and used all four burners of my stove along with my four largest kettles to boil the pumpkin into tender goodness.

After the wedges cooled sufficiently, I peeled them and pressed them through a ricer–a strainer with a press inside which pureed the pumpkin.

Then I filled several crusts with the traditional mixture of pumpkin, white sugar, more spices than the ingredients list called for, eggs and evaporated milk–the brand that sports my favorite recipe on the label. Using real pumpkin rather than canned made the pies extraordinarily “pumpkiny” beyond belief. I had plenty of pumpkin to freeze after baking two 10-inch pies: pumpkin to be used in soup, bread, cheesecake, coffee cake, muffins, and maybe more pies.

That large pumpkin has vanished, but every year I use at least several cans of puree to replicate all those treats and surf the web for new recipes.

And, of course, we take several trips to our local frozen yogurt shop during October and November for pumpkin yogurt and watch eagerly for our nearby coffee stand to advertise pumpkin lattes.

Are there any pumpkin fanatics out there? Share your pumpkin stories in the Reader’s Forum and feel free to submit your favorite pumpkin-themed recipes as well.

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