Freeze pumpkin now for pumpkin recipes later

Freezing pumpkin is a great option to preserve the color of fall.

Look around you and chances are you will see pumpkins for sale or decorating yards and homes. As Halloween approaches and fall harvest winds down, pumpkins are plentiful. After decorating your home for Halloween and the fall season, you might find yourself with pumpkins available for other future uses. Pumpkins can be preserved for use in a variety of dishes this winter.

Michigan State University Extension reminds you that freezing is the easiest way to preserve pumpkin. Freezing provides the best quality pumpkin product. Select full-colored mature pumpkin with fine texture (not stringy or dry). Wash, cut into cooking-size sections and remove seeds. Cook until soft in boiling water, in steam, in a pressure cooker or in an oven. Remove the pulp from rind and mash. To cool, place pan containing pumpkin in cold water and stir occasionally. Pack into rigid containers leaving headspace, then freeze.

Frozen pumpkin can be used in many dishes and baked goods. A great fall breakfast can include pumpkin pancakes using the recipe below.

Pumpkin Pancakes

Serves: 2-4

2 cups flour

6 teaspoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 ¼ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1 teaspoon salt

1 egg

½ cup pumpkin

1 ¾ cups milk, low-fat

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Directions:

1. Combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice and salt in a large mixing bowl.

2. In a medium bowl, combine egg, canned pumpkin, milk and vegetable oil, mixing well.

3. Add wet ingredients to flour mixture, stirring just until moist. Batter may be lumpy. (For thinner batter, add more milk).

4. Lightly coat a griddle or skillet with cooking spray and heat on medium.

5. Using a ¼ cup measure, pour batter onto hot griddle. Cook until bubbles begin to burst, then flip pancakes and cook until golden brown, 1 ½ to 2 ½ minutes. Repeat with remaining batter. Makes about 1 dozen 3 ½ inch pancakes.

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