Whether you are putting a garden to bed and getting everything put by for winter or doing your shopping at the grocery store, it’s time to think about winter. It’s a season of warm food. Spicy cookies and pies. Soups. Bread. All of the things you didn’t even want to think about during the hot summer. Here in Wisconsin, summer is very short, and some days were cool enough that I did make soup and bread, but this is the real season for it.
Apples and pumpkins and other late-season produce are readily available, and it’s a good time to start processing them for winter. Apples are so useful and versatile – it’s easy (but time-consuming, I admit) to make applesauce, cider, apple butter, apple pies and cakes and breads, and to freeze slices and diced apples for use later in the winter. Dried apples, too, are a sweet treat.
Pumpkin is good in a variety of forms. The pies are the most common form, but pureed pumpkin is good in soups, bread and muffins and even pancakes. Sweet pumpkins can be eaten like other squash. Last year, I used the pressure cooker to cook pumpkin. Cut off the stem, cut in pieces, scoop out the seeds and pressure cook for a little while. When it’s safe to remove it from the cooker, spoon out the flesh. No need to puree… it’s already done. If I had cooked mine for one minute longer, I could have pureed the skin, too, because it was so soft. If it’s too runny, cook it down. Freeze it in Ziploc bags.
Even if you don’t have a garden or orchard of your own, it’s a good season for putting food by.