Thursday, January 16, 2014

Homemade Pumpkin Pie

    It seems that these days, farm-to-table, free range, organic, homegrown, local, heirloom, “take back our food” food is everywhere. Every single grocery store seems to sell organic and local products these days. For the past couple of years, I have caught on to this awesome trend and been growing a small garden, searching for the most heirloom, organic, free-range, vegan “take back our world” plants possible. One of these particular plants I grow is heirloom pumpkins--the Jarrahdale variety to be exact. They are a very unusual pumpkin, with a blue-grey outer color, perfect decorations for Halloween if you ask me. They are relatively easy to grow (not that I am an expert in pumpkin cultivation by any means), and quite frankly, I like impressing my friends and family with them. Forget about fancy-colored heirloom tomatoes! I grow fancy-colored heirloom pumpkins!!

    Unfortunately, I don’t quite know what to do with the pumpkins I yield every year. I have always wanted to carve a jack o’ lantern with a Jarrahdale pumpkin, given the neat color it is. The issue is that the flesh is much thicker than the average pumpkin--the pumpkin itself isn’t that hollow like most pumpkins we know and love. I will try carving one next year, hopefully keeping all my fingers intact!

    That said, it was the day before this past Thanksgiving in which I got a wild idea. I had a bunch of these pumpkins sitting around, about to rot. Why don’t I become Martha Stewart or Ina Garten and create my own, homemade, farm-to-table, organic, made-from-scratch pumpkin pie??

    I am not going to lie, this was a great idea. There was, however, one small problem. I had never made a pie before in my life, let alone a pumpkin pie, let alone one I made from pumpkins that I grew myself. I think an even bigger problem was that this problem didn’t even bother to cross my mind. If this seems contradicting, don’t you worry! You’ll find out just how much of a problem this really was pretty soon here. I posted the idea on Facebook, and with the confirmation and undying support of 24 of my Facebook friends and my mother, decided to find a recipe, run out to the store, and get this pie made faster than you can say “100% heirloom, organic, farm-to-table, made-with-love food!”

    First, some quick notes about these pumpkins and how I came to growing them. As I mentioned before, they are an heirloom variety, named for the town of Jarrahdale outside of Perth, Australia. This is, at least according to my research. (If someone has more info on their origin, please let me know.) My aunt received a bunch of unused seeds from a local co-op organic farm near where we live, and gave them to me when I began my garden. These included a packet of Jarrahdale seeds. The seed packets were relatively high-end, and most were certified organic by the USDA. I grew a few pumpkins, saved those seeds, and then grew some pumpkins this past summer with those seeds I saved. So, in short, the pumpkins cost me absolutely no money (perhaps labor), and my aunt and I are doing our part to build community.  How neat is that??

       These are a few Jarrahdales: