Pumpkin Soup, How to Make Great Use of Those Leftover Pumpkins
It’s that time of year when we realize that we have a lot of un-used pumpkins laying around. Halloween has passed and with Thanksgiving upon us, it will be the last time we see pumpkins in season until next fall.
A few years ago, I started making pumpkin pie with our home grown pumpkins. There is nothing wrong with using canned pumpkin from the store, we just prefer to use our own home-grown food whenever possible. Trust me, this is another one of those things that once you have a pumpkin pie made completely from scratch, you will never go back. So each year, after our pumpkins are harvested, I have gotten into the habit of seeding, roasting and freezing pumpkin for future pies, quick breads and today’s venture, pumpkin soup! Let me share the process with you:
Run the pumpkin under cool water to remove any dirt or debris.
Cut the pumpkin in half, and using a sharp knife, release the fibers from the inside of the pumpkin. This step makes cleaning the “guts” out much easier! Use a large metal spoon to remove the seeds and pulp. Feel free to separate the seeds from the pulp for roasting or drying out for next year’s planting.
This pumpkin was pretty large, so I quartered each half, laid them flesh side down on a foil lined, rimmed baking sheet and added about 1 cup of water, then repeat for the other half. I ended up using 3 separate baking sheets to accommodate this big boy! I then baked it at 350 degrees F for about 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, I checked to see if the pumpkin was soft. You will be able to easily insert a fork and it will feel mushy. This was a very hardy pumpkin, so at the 45 minute mark, it was not quite done, so I added a little more water to the pan and let it roast for another 15 minutes then checked again and let it go for another 15 minutes until it was done.
When the pumpkin is done roasting, it almost has a “flattened” appearance. I let it cool on the pan for about 15 minutes until I could handle it easily without burning myself. Then, using a sturdy table spoon, I gently pulled the flesh off the skin. There is a grain to the pumpkin, so I recommend following the grain as opposed to going against it. It makes the flesh removal much easier.
You will be left with this velvety pile of vibrant colored goodness!
Once fully cooled, the pumpkin is ready for freezing. I squeeze out as much liquid as possible, then place in labeled freezer bags and lay flat to freeze. Freezer space is at a premium in our house, so the flatter the better! Generally, I make 2 cup portions because most of my pumpkin recipes use this measurement, but please feel free to freeze in smaller or larger ones!
4 cups freshly roasted or frozen pumpkin
1 small onion, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp curry powder(optional)
1 quart chicken or vegetable stock
salt and pepper to taste
In a large stock pot, sauté the onion in the olive oil until softened on medium to low heat. Add the 2 tsp of curry powder(optional if you are not a curry fan) Stir the curry powder and onions together for about 30 seconds. This helps to “wake up” the curry flavor. Add 4 cups of pumpkin, stir to combine. Then add 1 quart of chicken or vegetable stock and stir well. I happened to have chicken stock in my freezer so that is what I used, but any store bought stock is fine, just try to get the low sodium variety so you can control the salt level.
Raise the heat to medium/high, bring the soup to a boil, then reduce to simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. After 30 minutes, turn off heat and using either an immersion blender(which is shown here) or a traditional blender, blend the soup until smooth. If you use a traditional blender, blend in batches and only fill your blender about 1/2 way for each batch so you do get any hot soup overboard and risk unpleasant burns. Once blended, add salt and pepper taste. This batch required no additional seasoning in my opinion because I seasoned the stock when I made it prior to freezing.
Spoon up a bowl and enjoy! And in the middle of winter, make it again, or a pumpkin bread, or a pie for your Christmas dinner from the fruits of your labor.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and your families, your animals, your farms and your homesteads from all of us and our animals here at Two Branches Homestead!