Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Buy pumpkins at the source and save

October is the month for pumpkins! The cheapest way to get a lot of yummy pumpkin is NOT to buy it canned on sale. If you haven't grown your own or can get a free one somewhere (neighbors gardens?), here's how to get the best pumpkin for the lowest price. Best sources are first.

From your garden. Or the garden of friends or family. This is the freshest and definitely the right price, even if you trade a neighbor for something else.

Pumpkin patches. If you live anywhere near a farming area, you should be able to find a pumpkin patch. Plan on spending some time there, take the kids and make a real outing of it. Many pumpkin patches have squash and gourds, too, and some have activities for the kids as well as adults. The prices are great. I have bought them for as low as three for a dollar.

Farmer's markets. Fresh pumpkin straight from the fields are found in farmer's markets, but be sure you're buying from a grower/producer. Some markets allow anyone to sell, so people buy food from wholesale grocer markets and present them as farm grown. The prices at farmer's markets vary a lot, so know yours and know if the pumpkin is worth it to you.

Grocery store. As a last resort, buy a fresh pumpkin from a grocery or other store. They may look expensive compared to a pumpkin patch, but it's cheaper than canned pumpkin.

Once you get the pumpkin and are through using it as a decoration, cut it open and scoop out the seeds. Clean the stringy part from them and soak them in salt water overnight, then toast in a slow oven of about 250 degrees.

Bake the rest of the pumpkin and puree or chunk it to cook or bake with or freeze it for Thanksgiving pumpkin pies. You will never taste canned pumpkin as good or as cheap!