It’s not a real wonder that people just buy cans of pumpkin for making pies, or pumpkin pie filling.
Yesterday (after a week and a half of asking what I should bring) my sister asked me to be responsible for making pies for Thanksgiving this year.
Now I had a pumpkin from Halloween I wanted to preserve, so I agreed, thinking I could make some classic pumpkin pie from scratch. I also had a bag of tart apples left over from apple butter (which I got 13 pints out of) that were somewhat past their prime and would be good for a pie as well. And a pudding pie I have been meaning to make for ages. Seemed like a good opportunity to stretch my pie making skills.
I forgot the cutting pumpkin takes muscle. Real muscle, like kneading 4 loaves of bread type of muscle. And doing a whole pumpkin? That takes endurance. Like “hand whipping two pitchers of eggnog and whipped cream” kind of endurance. Can I do those things? Heck yes I can! Do I want to? Err….
Suffice to say, I spent some 6 hours chopping up pumpkin chunks and apples, getting them prepped and finally managing to preserve four quarts of pumpkin for later.
Every year I have a newfound respect for my mother who had to do all these things as a child and kept doing them for the rest of her life. It’s a particularly sharp reminder this year, as this will be the first year that she’s no longer with us. I feel a bit lost without her.
I wish I had also listened more. So much knowledge left our family with her and will be a struggle to regain. Her years on a farm during the end of the depression would have been invaluable to me now, but those are also gone. If I had listened when I had the chance, maybe I wouldn’t have had to over cook my pumpkin pie because I didn’t boil the water out of the cooked pumpkin.
But I did it. I made the pies. The apple pie is nearly perfect. And tomorrow promises to be a bright day.