Pumpkin pancakes with pumpkin spice whipping cream

 

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My seed collection from my Winter Luxury Pie pumpkin I purchased a few years back finally paid off and I was able to produce a couple of decent sized pumpkins which should provide me enough pumpkin goo (canned pumpkin) to make plenty of baked goods this fall.  For those who have not made their own pumpkin goo the process is very easy…even easier this year with my new food processor (no need to add bit of water to help my struggling magic bullet I have used in the past)

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So with about a gallon of pumpkin puree on hand I froze about 3/4 of it by spooning some into silicon muffin cups, freezing for a couple hours, adding to freezer bag and repeat.

With what I had left seemed like a good idea would be pumpkin pancakes which I made this morning with the following recipe.
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Pumpkin pancakes with pumpkin spice whipping cream
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 1.5 cups milk
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 2 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2.5 teaspoons pumpkin spice (1 tsp allspice, 1 tsp cinnamon, ½ teaspoon ginger)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
Instructions
  1. Mix milk, pumpkin, egg, oil and vinegar in bowl.
  2. In separate bowl combine flour, sugars, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt and stir until well combined.
  3. Stir flour mixture into pumpkin mixture and mix just enough to combine (over mixing can lead to chewy pancakes)
  4. Heat a griddle or frying/cast iron pan on medium-high heat and pour ¼-1/3 cup of batter into pan and flip when brown and serve.
Notes
For whipping cream simply add ¼ teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice to purchased whipping cream. Or make it yourself with 2 cups of heavy cream, 1 teaspoon powdered sugar, and ½ teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice and whip until you have medium peaks.

 

 

Nutrient density of vegetables in your garden

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Just out of curiosity I got my hands on the USDA food database and had a little fun in Excel and the results were pretty interesting.  Assuming I wanted to figure out what vegetables I could grow in my garden had the highest nutrient density.  I wrote a formula for each nutrient from Vitamin A to Zinc what percentage rank across all of the foods did the item have.  I then summed up these percentages based on 100 calories consumed to create an overall score and grouped by average across the categories as a “Nutrient Density Score.”

The results were pretty interesting and discovered some new plants I should try consuming this year.

Top 10 most nutrient dense vegetables

Rank Vegetable Score Nutrients with significant content
1 Pumpkin leaves 24.0 Potassium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Leucine, Tyrosine, Threroline, Isoleucine, Phenylalanie
2 Spinach 23.4 Calcium, Potassium, Phosphorus, Zinc, Folate, Magnesium, Beta carotene, Tyrosine, Threroline, Isoleucine
3 Mustard Greens 23.0 Calcium, Potassium, Phosphorus, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Folate, Beta carotene, Tyrosine, Arginine
4 Broccoli 23.0 Calcium, Phosphorus, Zinc, Pantothenic acid, Folate, Aspartic acid, Glutamic acid, Valine
5 Asparagus 22.6 Phosphorus, Potassium, Zinc, Copper, Selenium, Niacin, Folate, Aspartic acid, Glutamic acid
6 Turnip Greens 22.6 Calcium, Potassium, Beta carotene, Tyrosine, Threroline, Isoleucine, Phenylalanie, Leucine, Valine
7 Pak-Choi 22.3 Calcium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Vitamin C, Folate, Beta carotene, Glutamic acid, Isoleucine, Alanine
8 Swiss Chard 21.5 Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Copper, Beta carotene, Isoleucine, Phenylalanie
9 Green Leaf Lettuce 21.5 Phosphorus, Potassium, Manganese, Vitamin A, Beta carotene, Isoleucine
10 Beet Greens 21.4 Calcium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Zinc, Copper, Manganese, Pantothenic acid, Beta carotene

 
As you can see everything in the top ten is at least the color green with most of the plants being leafy vegetables.  Some honorable mentions rounding up the top 20: Chives, Kale, Zucchini, Corn salad, Okra, Cauliflower Greens, Parsley, Mushrooms, Collards, Red leaf Lettuce.

So as you know vegetables contain the most nutrients the shorter the time between they are harvested and then consumed so anywhere you can shave off a few hours of this process is to your advantage, so to benefit the most for the nutrients in your food some of the above plants are some great options.

So how about the bottom, or the top ten least nutrient dense vegetables in your garden?

Bottom 10 least nutrient dense vegetables

Rank Vegetable Score
1 Indian Squash 8.4
2 Shiitake Mushrooms 9.4
3 Potatoes 9.5
4 Jerusalem Artichoke 9.6
5 Parsnips 9.7
6 Lemon grass 9.7
7 Pumpkin flowers 10.3
8 Arrowroot 10.8
9 Tomatillos 10.9
10 Rhubarb 10.9

 

Now don’t get me wrong many of the plants in the above list may still have plenty of nutritional value it is just that compared to the competition they lack the shear concentration of nutrition and the diversity across the spectrum. 

I know for me I am planning on trying some pumpkin leaves this year.  Sounds like you just dice them up and sauté with some oil and throw in some garlic at the end and sounds like the leaves should actually be pretty sweet tasting…I will be sure to post of the success or failure of cooking pumpkin leaves.

How to make pumpkin puree

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It is that time of year again to stock up on some pumpkin puree from some fresh pumpkins.  Not sure if it is the 3rd daughter or just getting older but this year I have come up with an ever faster way to convert pumpkins into puree.  Not only does this give you a better tasting pie, but given a organic pumpkin cost $6 a can you also save quite a bit of money with just a little additional work.

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Step 1: Clean the pumpkin. Use a little water and scouring pad to remove loose dirt

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Step 2: Remove stem and cut pumpkin in half.  This will take a little muscle to get through but using a serrated blade should make quick work of this little pumpkin.

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Step 3: Scoop out seeds and innards.  Using an ice cream scoop. scrape out the seeds and the stringy innards, you don’t have to get this completely clean as you can see below.  I also decided to save a few seeds with hopes to grow my own sugar pumpkins next year using the seed saving techniques I have wrote about last year.

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Step 4: Cook the pumpkin. Places halved pumpkins on a cookie sheet. Place in a preheated oven at 350F and cook the pumpkin for 1.5-2 hours. The pumpkin is done cooking when you can slice through the pumpkin flesh with an edge of a fork with almost no effort.

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Step 5: Scape out cooked pumpkin.  When the pumpkins are cool enough to handle simply take a large spoon and scrape out the cooked pumpkin and scoop into a large bowl being careful to not scrape too hard and accidentally get some pumpkin skin in the mix.

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Step 6: Blend.  Use a large metal spoon to scape the pumpkin away from the skin and place into a blender and blend until smooth.  Typically this can be as much as 1/3 water to 2/3 cooked pumpkin to get a good vortex going like above.

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That is it.  With my 5 pound pumpkin I purchased for $5 I got 6 cups of pumpkin puree, which is enough to make 3 pumpkin pie or 6 loafs of pumpkin bread and if my math is right about $30 compared to buying the canned variety.  After making a pie and a loaf of pumpkin bread this left me with 3 cups of pumpkin goo, which I put in 6 half-cup containers which I froze to make some more pie for Thanksgiving.

Saving some more pumpkin puree

 

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I cooked up another pumpkin to make some more puree to last be though the rest of the year.  This time I used silicon liners which made the removal of the frozen pumpkin pucks a piece of cake.

Last year I made a delicious pumpkin pie with some of this puree, this year I decided to be a little more health conscious and used this recipe for a low carb, gluten free pumpkin pie.  Just as delicious, but with almost half the calories and none of the sugar/carb rush/

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How to Freeze pumpkin puree

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After making my own pumpkin puree last year, I can’t go back to the old stuff in the cans.  Last year I put the pumpkin puree into individual 1/2 cup plastic containers.  This worked ok but given our full freezer it was pretty common for these hockey pucks to fall out from where they were wedge breaking on the floor (if I was luck enough to get my foot out of the way)

This year I am using a different technique to freeze these to use in pumpkin pie, pumpkin cheesecake (low carb version), pumpkin ice cream, or pumpkin bread this holiday season.  Before you can freeze the pumpkin puree you need to get it from the pumpkin.

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Step 1: Clean the pumpkin. Use a little water and scouring pad to remove loose dirt

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Step 2: Remove stem and cut pumpkin in half. This will take a little muscle to get through but using a serrated blade should make quick work of this little pumpkin.

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Step 3: Scoop out seeds and innards. Using an ice cream scoop scrape out the seeds and the stringy innards, you don’t have to get this completely clean as you can see below. I also decided to save a few seeds with hopes to grow my own sugar pumpkins next year using the seed saving techniques I have wrote about last year.

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Step 4: Cut the pumpkin into smaller equally sized pieces. Once you have all the seeds and gunk out slice up the pumpkin halves into several equally sized pieces.

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Step 5: Cook the pumpkin. Places pieces in a casserole dish and cover with top or if yours are overflowing your largest casserole dish like mine you can simply cover the dish with a piece of aluminum foil. Place in a preheated oven at 350F and cook the pumpkin for 45-90 minutes. The pumpkin is done cooking when you can slice through the pumpkin flesh with an edge of a fork with almost no effort.

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Step 6: Blend. Use a large metal spoon to scape the pumpkin away from the skin and place into a blender and blend until smooth. If you have a very dry pumpkin like mine you might need to add a little water to get a good cortex going like above.

Step 7: Freeze.  Scoop your pumpkin puree into a couple of cupcake pans and freeze for 24 hours.  Then using both your thumbs apply a little pressure on the bottom of each frozen pumpkin puck to dislodge.  My wife had a great idea of using those silicon cupcake liners to make getting them out easier….though we just purchased those a day too late so I had to deal with the muscle and cold finger technique.  Place your dislodged pumpkin pucks into a freezer bag removing extra air with a straw and should be good to use for about 12 months…which is perfect when more pumpkins arrive and the process repeats.

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Each puck is approximately 1/2 cup so just pull out and defrost as many as you need for your recipe.  Given there are no additives or sugar involved I have also used this same puree as baby food, which our daughter seemed to enjoy, but I opted for some fresh banana bread for myself.

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Making homemade pumpkin ice cream

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Looking for some more ways to use up some of my pumpkin puree, I decided to make some pumpkin ice cream.  Here is the pumpkin ice cream recipe I used.