By Laurel Aiello | Fort Collins Nursery
The fall harvest is one of the gardener’s favorite times of year, second only to the start of the planting season. It’s a time to reflect on all the hard work that went into growing fresh, healthy food all season long. Now is the time to share it with loved ones as you gather around the table, and here are a couple recipes to get you started.
BAKED PUMPKIN PUREE
From “Play with your pumpkins” by Joost Elffers and Saxton Freymann
1 ½ pounds sugar pumpkin, in pieces, peeled and seeded
½ pound potatoes, peeled and cubed
6 tablespoons butter
1 cup grated Gruyere cheese
1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper
Boil pumpkin and potatoes together in salted water until soft. Drain well and then mash into a puree. Beat the eggs and stir them into the vegetables with 4 tablespoons of the butter. Mix the cheeses together and add about half of the mixture to the puree. Season according to taste, adding salt and plenty of black pepper and more cheese if needed. Grease a gratin dish and pour the mixture into it. Sprinkle the top with the remaining cheese. Melt the last of the butter and dribble it over the top as evenly as possible. Bake at 350° F until nicely browned and the edges are bubbling. Spread on warm homemade bread or use as a veggie dip.
Using ingredients from the garden: Make this recipe with a homegrown sugar pumpkin. Slice down the center and scoop out the seeds (save them to roast on a pan). Remove the skin and cube the flesh. Snack on the roasted seeds while the puree bakes.
APPLE CAKE WITH RUM SAUCE
From Bette Sears
1 cup sugar
¼ cup of butter, softened
1 egg, unbeaten
2 large apples, unpeeled, or 2 cups shredded apples
1 cup sifted flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup chopped walnuts
Directions: Heat oven to 400° F. Beat butter, sugar and egg until fluffy. Mix dry ingredients together and combine with the rest of the mixture. Grease an 8-inch square pan. Bake for 40-50 minutes.
½ cup butter
1 cup sugar
½ cup half and half
Dash of nutmeg
2-3 tablespoons rum or extract
Directions: Heat butter, sugar and half and half flowy, stirring occasionally until slightly thickened. Add rum and nutmeg. Serve hot with cake.
Using ingredients from the garden: If you had an apple tree dropping delicious fruit in your yard in the fall, these recipes are the perfect way to enjoy it. The hardy Malus ‘Sweet Sixteen’ and Malus ‘Honeycrisp’ have a crisp, firm texture and sweet flavor that lends itself well to cake and pie filling. Next September, plan ahead for late fall and winter baking by preserving your apples. Chop or slice the fruit, then tightly pack it into containers, leaving ½ inch of space on top. Use a sugar pack method—dissolve ascorbic acid in water and sprinkle over fruit, then mix in sugar—or a dry pack method (same as sugar pack but without the sugar). Seal, label and freeze.