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Preparing Pumpkin--from an Actual Pumpkin


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Here in Europe, it is easier to get a real pumpkin than to buy a can of pumpkin. I've never seen a can of pumpkin in this country and I'm sure other places have similar problems. So here are directions for preparing the pumpkin mush those Americans are always talking about. It is not ready to throw into a pie. You'll need a recipe for that, but this can be used instead of the canned pumpkin called for in American recipes.



These directions are loosely based on those in "Joy of Cooking" but I'm adding lots out of my own experience.


1. Go buy a good pumpkin. You want a pumpkin intended for eating, not decoration. Don't worry if it isn't orange. The greenish and yellowish pumpkins also have yummy guts. You want to think about how much freezer space you have when selecting a pumpkin. If you choose a big meaty one, you're going to end up with quite a good bit of puree to freeze. But as well as using it for your dogs, you can also make pie and pumpkin bread and all sorts of other things with it. It is yummy and healthy for you as well.


2. Wash the outside of the pumpkin thoroughly. You're not going to be eating the outer skin, but you'll be handling it a lot and baking it, so you want it clean.


3. Cut the pumpkin in half. Then clean out the seeds and the stringy guts. The stringy guts you don't need for anything. The seeds you can actually toast and make into a yummy snack. (If you toast them without salt, they are excellent rat food or treats. Salt is tastier for human consumption. You can find recipes online for doing this)


4. Put the pumpkin in a big pan for the oven with the cut side down. If your pumpkin is really big, you may have to cut it into smaller pieces or bake it in shifts. Bake it at 325 F or 150 C for at least an hour and maybe more. You want to leave it in there until the round of the top has crashed and the remaining guts are soft and easy to scrape out of the shell.


5. You might want to let the pumpkin cool down a little before you try to handle it too much. Also note that the juices here are EXTREMELY sticky, so be careful to clean up thoroughly after yourself. I always end up using my hands a lot for this phase, so you'll want good clean hands. To make the guts totally to puree, you have to blend them or shove them through a ricer or strainer. If you have a staff blender, it works great. That's what I prefer to use.


The goal here is to separate the guts from the tough outer shell. The shell gets thrown out and the guts get turned to mush. If you are only feeding your dogs with it, you can use all the liquid, I'd think. If you want to bake with it, you'll need to strain some of the liquid from it so you have a slightly firmer texture. Basically, you want to be able to drop a spoonful onto the top of it and have it hold itself up a bit before it settles flat into the rest. Maybe someone else with more recent experience with canned pumpkin can clarify better. I find that most recipes aren't too picky, but if it calls for other liquid, I use less if I haven't drained my pumpkin.


To store your pumpkin mush, pack it in plastic bags in the quantity you want to use at once. I generally bag in 2 cup quantities because most recipes use that (the can holds 2 cups). My favorite recipe uses 1.5C, but I don't make it as often and I just expand it a bit when I make it to use 2 C or I take the extra away.


I'm not sure how much is appropriate for a BC. Someone else is going to have to help us out with that so you can bag that much at once.


When defrosting, always put the bag in a bowl or something. It is rare that it doesn't drip when it thaws. The drip is also a very sticky substance.


If you want my favorite recipe for the pumpkin, you'll have to check out the google coffee break forum. I posted this here because I know at least Holly's Mum wants it not just for baking but for the sake of her dog.

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Thanks Bexie,



Can anyone please tell me a bit more information about using pumpkin for tummy troubles in their dogs. I have seen it on here so many times so it must be very much used for dogs. I don't know how much to feed, what it is really good for etc. So anyone can give me any tips i would appreciate it.


Holly has a delicate tummy and so i would like to try it sometime.



Thanks :rolleyes:

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The reason pumpkin works is because it has lots of fiber and therefore adds bulk to the stool (thereby firming up loose stoll). This used to seem counterintuitive to me (when a doctor recommended metamucil to help with human diarrhea issues and I thought "fiber as a laxative and also as an antidiarrheal?"), but it works. I don't ever use any precise amount--I just dump some in there. I probably give more than a lot of folks, since if I were to guess the least I ever give is maybe 1/4- to 1/2-cup. You can probably get by with amounts in the tablespoon range....


Because it's full of fiber, pumpkin is also very filling. When I have to put a dog on a diet, I add either pumpkin or green beans to the food as "filler" so the dog is still getting a full belly without any added calories (comparatively speaking). In that case, I usually use about a quarter to a third of a 16-oz. can per feeding.


I think probably you just need to experiment on amounts and figure out what works best for your dog.



I (almost) never leave home without metronidazole. It's a lifesaver on the road if you get a dog with diarrhea. At the finals this year, I had run out and had to resort to Immodium as something ran through my dogs and it just didn't work. Metronidazole would have stopped it cold. I ended up "borrowing" something else (another prescription antidiarrheal) from another handler and that finally stopped it. Anyway, I hope the regimen you've got Maggie on now works for her. In the future, if you can find someone who could board Maggie in their home or yours, it might be the better option. I boarded Willow just once and she was such a mess from the stress when I got her back (including having to be on tagamet and not eating for a week after I got her home) that I never boarded her again but instead relied on friends, etc., to keep her for me. It made all the difference in the world.



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Thanks Julie :rolleyes:


I have seen it mentioned on here a lot and everyone seems to know about it. I had never heard of it before these boards.


A filler is a good idea for future reference, Holly acts hungry now sometimes and i don't want to increase her food in fact i wanted to reduce it more.

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It works if you boil it as well, and its not so messy;) Just cut the pumpkin into chunks, peel the skin, pop in boiling water until tender, mash like potato or put in a blender. Not salt or butter needed.


One or two heaped tablespoons was all Taj needed per meal to firm him up, but he was only about 9 weeks old. He loves pumpkin - will eat it first over kibble or meat.

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