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Sunday, November 6, 2011

Food Bank Fresh Vegetable Bounty

13 pumpkins

Other people gave me their pumpkins, and Charlie carried them all for me. Some of the pumpkins are huge. If he did not go to help me put all my food in the car, I could not manage.

two bananas, two broccoli heads, six navel oranges
bunny wanted to look and sample

two bags of salad greens with Romaine and a pre-made salad

Salads had two days left until use-by date. Pre-made salad was in a Ziploc bag, so I don't know if it
was made on site or if a larger one was divided.   Either I or the girls will eat these.  

beautiful, white head of cauliflower,
better than I often see in stores
4 cans of corn, 2 bottles of squirt jelly
The jelly is pretty icky, but over some chocolate ice cream, topped with sliced bananas, with a bit of jelly on top, it's okay. I would not eat it often. Besides, I have plans for the strawberry jelly on or in pastries--pretty for Christmas. Exbf will love the jelly. I had already opened and eaten one can of the corn. The hens helped me eat
4 pounds Pinto Beans

The rest of what I got that is not pictured
*one box of Kellogg's Cornflakes, the real deal. Not so sure what I will do with those.
*two huge bags of pretzels. Exbf will eat those since I never eat pretzels.
*1 pkg cinnamon and raisins Nooks and Crannies
*two loaves of whole wheat bread
*a minuscule slice of peach pie, served in bowl with spoon for immediate consumption
*head of iceberg lettuce, left in car so that it's now a chicken treat
* two 1-lb packages of leanest ground beef I have ever seen. Two lbs of lean ground meat will last me about ten days or more.
*two bologna sandwiches

What I left behind:
*So many bakery donuts and bakery pastries that I just don't need. 
*bagels and more nooks and crannies (got an abundance last week and froze it)
*Rye bread, sour dough bread, hamburger and hot dog buns, focaccia bread, white bread
*Lots of carbs and sugar
*some vegetables that were really near death and had been picked over before I got there.  

Some of the 50 lbs of bananas from week before last are still here to deal with. So, ugh, I have too much to do. The squirrels better not get the pumpkins. I have sprinkled them with red pepper to dissuade the critters of the night and the rats with pretty tales.

I am really excited about the glut of pumpkins. The dehydrator will be running day and night.  And, here I was planning on getting ones from the street, discarded ones. Okay, I may still do

Your turn
How about this food bank's offerings? Is that a lot of dehydrating? Whew! Aren't they pretty? Most of the vegetables are sooo fresh. Yes, they are from a supermarket and maybe not organic. Some food banks just give out outdated food in cans and boxes, mostly cookies and sugared cereal, plus horribly dented food that looks dangerous. Have you ever dehydrated pumpkin? I have a great video that I will follow.  I have dried pumpkin seeds in the oven, but as long as the dehydrator is running and has room, I will use it. Or, should I bake them?


  1. that's a really good haul - i'm happy for you!
    lots of good looking veggies to keep you healthy!

    hope the red pepper works, squirrels are really persistent critter ;-)


  2. I have dehydrated pumpkin leather but usually have not had so much pumpkin to spare. This year, I have a lot so will experiment with dehydrating some.
    I think your food pantry haul is awesome! The last time I dried pumpkin seeds, I boiled them first and then roasted them in the oven with a little bit of salt and oil. Much nicer than the way I have done it in the past. I suppose you could still dry them in the dehydrator but the boiling somehow made a huge difference.

  3. These pumpkins may not even be the edible kind! If not, we have chicken food! The last time I baked pumpkin seeds, my youngest was four. She ate them all. No one else had a chance. I am not a big pumpkin seed fan. Besides, she loved them so that I just let her eat all of them.

    Back then, there was no internet to check, so I just roasted with a very tiny bit of salt. This time i will boil them before I roast. Maybe I will like them better.

    I was in disbelief when I saw what was available.

  4. yeah, what a great haul!! I cut up pumpkins, drizzle with olive oil and oven roast them. boy, do they make the house smell great! I expect your dehydrator will make the whole block smell great! ;)

  5. I need to hear more. I baked the half pumpkin in a pan with 1/2 inch of water, then ripped the peel off. Did you peel first? If so, how? I need a chain saw to get through these. AND, you have to cook and mash the pumpkin before you dehydrate. I did not know that when I wrote the post. I may can and freeze lots.

  6. Dmarie,
    Thanks for that information. If I were not afraid of my mandoline, I would use that for slicing raw potatoes and dehydrate.

  7. Bake the pumpkin seeds with some salt. They will keep for quite a while in a container, and they make a lovely snack. Roast and freeze the pumpkins for putting in breads, muffins, making gnocchi and soup.
    The corn is great in corn chowder as well. I made corn chowder yesterday; I used canned milk for hte milk in it. It was wonderful and everyone loved it.

  8. Prudent Homemaker,
    I am going to can and dehydrate some of the pumpkin along with freezing in two cup portions. I love pumpkin bread.

    Yes, I just started another post where I am giving all the seeds from the first three to the hens. I don't think they like them. Right now, the kitchen is out of control, so the next ones will be baked with salt for snacking.

    Canned milk cannot be detected in cooking,

    I am so glad you are here. I love comments!

  9. We have been fortunate in the past to never need to can or dehydrate winter squash because the keep so well. When one begins to feel like it's softening or whatever, I just use it then.

    One of the reasons I have never canned pumpkin is because I have read cautions against it, especially the puree. It becomes so dense that there is the possibility that the center never reaches the safe temperature to kill botulism spores as I recall. I believe canning chunks in water is okay, though. Might want to check into that.

    I'm so grateful for food banks on both ends. I'm so glad those dear folks volunteer their time for such a worthwhile endeavor. My MIL works in one in AL and I know she has been so blessed by the opportunity. I'm so glad perfectly good food can be distributed to people who will use it instead of it going to the trash.

    I pulled all the remaining jarred baby food I have out of the cabinet (bought on half price sale a while back) and took it to our local place this week. Our youngest doesn't want to be fed anything anymore (wants to feed himself) and it may be out of date before another comes along. It warms my heart to think that a local baby has a few extra meals now.

    As far as chickens go, yes ours love the rinds but the seeds in the big pumpkins may be too big to swallow easily.

    We ate a crockpot meal last night that included diced pumpkin (recipe called for butternut squash), potatoes (called for apples but they'd all been eaten), orange-flavored prunes (called for apricots but they'd been eaten too), sausage, and lots of fall spices (ginger, cinnamon,...). It was really good.

    I made it with a pie pumpkin we had grown. I was able to (with some difficulty) peel it with an apple peeler, then cut it in half and clean it out, then dice it. One pumpkin was the perfect size for this recipe. The strings, small seeds I didn't save for next year, and the top and bottom were devoured by the chickens.

    I meant to try to stop by a street-corner pumpkin patch and offer to buy the remaining ones at a discount to feed the pig and chickens this winter, but I didn't get around to it and they are gone now. Rats!

    Thanks for all your insightful comments on our site!


  10. Prepping to Survive,
    The pumpkins are on the patio table. I am not so sure they will survive there. The basement is too damp, I think. Plus, I am afraid raccoons and squirrels would just find it convenient to have a dining room set up out of rain and bitter cold.

    That said, I am just not physically able to roast and further prepare all these in short order. Yesterday, I roasted three halves and put the other in the oven and just baked it and will put it in freezer bags when it cools a bit.

    Last year the University of Georgia food prep and canning site did not have pumpkin as approved for canning becuase of the reason you mentioned. This year, they approve it, canned in 1" cubes.

    I will work on these steadily. I really don't have a good storage place. I don't think the table will work and the side porch will either be too hot or allow them to freeze like leaving them on the table. I suppose they should not freeze. Besides, water gathers on the table. I covered it for the one half day of rain and uncovered it when it was dry out.

    Today, some of the skin I took out had the baked pumpkin on it, so we shall see if the hens like THAT. They prefer cooked, I suppose.

    These are not the moist insides I have encountered before, so I don't know if these are old or just the variety. The seeds are HUGE.

    The people at this food bank are so obviously poor, but they take little of the fresh produce. If they were homeless, it would make sense. Last year, I went to a different food bank that just handed out a bag of food. If I got a bag with something I don't like, I took the item back the next time.

    Love your blog.


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