Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice

We love pumpkin everything around here, and we don't need an excuse to add a little of our famous homemade pumpkin pie spice to anything we are whipping up in the kitchen.   Don't ever buy "store bought" pumpkin-pie spice again. Once you make this, you'll know how easy it is and how much better it tastes. 

We start by using our own homegrown pumpkins, but if you don't have any of those, you can use any old sugar pumpkin from your favorite farmers market or pumpkin patch. 

Dehydrate your pumpkin using this method here

Once you have your dehydrated pumpkin, put 1 cup of it into your coffee grinder and grind until it's a very fine powder.  

 Add ground pumpkin to a pint sized mason jar and add these spices as follows:

4 teaspoons ground cinnamon 
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground ginger 
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves  


Shake the mason jar until all of the spices have blended well.  It's THAT EASY! 

 The dehydrated pumpkin that you ground up will help to thicken any recipe as it begins to rehydrate.
Add your homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice to smoothies, cakes, breads, muffins, soups, yogurt, oatmeal and more!

How to Preserve Pumpkin, Two Easy Methods


If you grow your own pumpkins at home, you might be wondering how you can preserve your harvest of them so you can enjoy them later on through the upcoming year.    

We love growing organic pumpkins here at our homestead, and we LOVE the taste and flavor that pumpkin has.  We try sneaking it into many of our favorite recipes.    

 We usually try to preserve our pumpkins in several different ways so we have more flexibility with our recipes when we go to use some of it.  Here are our two favorite methods of preserving our homegrown organic pumpkins! 


Canning Pumpkin

1. Wash pumpkin
2. Cut pumpkin in half from top to bottom
3. Remove all of the seeds and pulp (save for your chickens, goats, bunnies etc.)
4. Slice your pumpkin into 1" wide slices
5. Peel skin off of the slices with an apple peeler
6. Cut slices into 1" cubes
7. Boil cubes for 2 minutes and then transfer into sterilized jars leaving 1" headspace
8. Wipe rims, then cap jars with clean lids and rings
9. Process at 10 lbs. for 90 minutes (quarts), or 55 minutes (pints) -Adjust lbs. of pressure depending on altitude-




  • Cut pumpkin in half from top to bottom.
  • Scrape out seeds and pulp, leaving flesh clean.
  • Slice into 1” wide wedges; peel and cut into 1” cubes.
  • Boil for 2 minutes and transfer cubes into sterilized quart or pint jars, leaving 1” head space.
  • Pour water from pot over cubes to cover.
  • Cap with lids and bands.
  • Process in weighted-gauge pressure cooker at 10 psi (90 minutes for quart jars or 55 minutes for pint jars).
  • - See more at: http://www.hgtvgardens.com/canning/how-to-can-pumpkins#sthash.RuhZUhDO.dpuf
    be a more practical solution, follow the steps below for canning the harvest this year while pumpkins are readily available.
    How to Can Pumpkin
    • Cut pumpkin in half from top to bottom.
    • Scrape out seeds and pulp, leaving flesh clean.
    • Slice into 1” wide wedges; peel and cut into 1” cubes.
    • Boil for 2 minutes and transfer cubes into sterilized quart or pint jars, leaving 1” head space.
    • Pour water from pot over cubes to cover.
    • Cap with lids and bands.
    • Process in weighted-gauge pressure cooker at 10 psi (90 minutes for quart jars or 55 minutes for pint jars).
    - See more at: http://www.hgtvgardens.com/canning/how-to-can-pumpkins#sthash.RuhZUhDO.dpuf



  • Cut pumpkin in half from top to bottom.
  • Scrape out seeds and pulp, leaving flesh clean.
  • Slice into 1” wide wedges; peel and cut into 1” cubes.
  • Boil for 2 minutes and transfer cubes into sterilized quart or pint jars, leaving 1” head space.
  • Pour water from pot over cubes to cover.
  • Cap with lids and bands.
  • Process in weighted-gauge pressure cooker at 10 psi (90 minutes for quart jars or 55 minutes for pint jars).
  • - See more at: http://www.hgtvgardens.com/canning/how-to-can-pumpkins#sthash.RuhZUhDO.dpuf




  • Cut pumpkin in half from top to bottom.
  • Scrape out seeds and pulp, leaving flesh clean.
  • Slice into 1” wide wedges; peel and cut into 1” cubes.
  • Boil for 2 minutes and transfer cubes into sterilized quart or pint jars, leaving 1” head space.
  • Pour water from pot over cubes to cover.
  • Cap with lids and bands.
  • Process in weighted-gauge pressure cooker at 10 psi (90 minutes for quart jars or 55 minutes for pint jars).
  • - See more at: http://www.hgtvgardens.com/canning/how-to-can-pumpkins#sthash.RuhZUhDO.dpuf



  • Cut pumpkin in half from top to bottom.
  • Scrape out seeds and pulp, leaving flesh clean.
  • Slice into 1” wide wedges; peel and cut into 1” cubes.
  • Boil for 2 minutes and transfer cubes into sterilized quart or pint jars, leaving 1” head space.
  • Pour water from pot over cubes to cover.
  • Cap with lids and bands.
  • Process in weighted-gauge pressure cooker at 10 psi (90 minutes for quart jars or 55 minutes for pint jars).
  • - See more at: http://www.hgtvgardens.com/canning/how-to-can-pumpkins#sthash.RuhZUhDO.dpuf
    Dehydrating Pumpkin

    1. Wash pumpkin
    2. Cut pumpkin in half from top to bottom
    3. Remove all of the seeds and pulp ...save for your chickens, goats, bunnies etc.!
    -See that post here!-
    4. Slice your pumpkin into 1" wide slices
    5. Peel skin off of the slices with an apple peeler
    6. Cut slices into 1/2" cubes
    7. Place on clean dehydrator tray 
    8. Dehydrate for 6-8 hours or until fully dried
    9. Turn off dehydrator and let cool
    10. Transfer dehydrated pumpkin to an air-tight container with an oxygen absorber

    Pumpkin Feeding Frenzy!

    Oh my goodness.  Because the weather has been so bitter cold the last few days, I wanted to treat our lovely farm animals to a little bit of fresh pumpkin, and they all were beyond happy about it.

    ... & while you can see that "Bieber the bunny" loved the pumpkin just as much as the chickens did, it was just a treat for him. Something bunnies shouldn't get very often because pumpkin and pumpkin seeds, if eaten too much, can give them tummy troubles.  
    {Just like us and eating too much pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving I suppose! ..ha}

    Here are some of my favorite blog posts about Feeding Pumpkin to your Chickens! 


    8 "Frost Tolerant" Vegetables & Our First Frost of the Season

    Last night, the forecast was predicting that we would have our "first frost", and that's exactly what happened. I was curious this morning to see what had transpired down in the gardens overnight with the freezing temperatures, so as soon as I got up, I took a walk down there to check everything out. 

     As predicted, we had our first frost.   The ground was solid as a block of ice, and the freezing wind was enough to make me want to crawl back into my warm bed or cozy up next to a fire with some hot coffee. 

     All of our plants and flowers were covered in ice, and frozen solid. 

     You can see from our strawberry plants here, the beautiful glistening layer of ice covering them.  Some people like to cover their strawberries with hay or straw in the winter but we've never had any problems with our strawberries.  We just let nature take it's course, and this year in fact was the best year for strawberries we've ever had.  


    I think our outdoor herb garden is done.  As you can see here, the oregano has completely froze. When it warms up in a few hours I'll go down and harvest all of it, and any other herbs, and get them on the dehydrator promptly to save them.  If I don't do it now, they'll be lost. 

     Guess I'll need to do this to any of our onions that are still down there.  Same goes for the chives.  I'll cut the green tops off of everything and start dehydrating them. 

     I'm so glad that we covered the beds yesterday by constructing mini hoop-houses over them. If you want to see how we did that, you can check out our link below to that post. 


    Later on, when it warms up a bit, I plan on going outside again to take inventory of all that has survived our first frost here in the Pacific Northwest. 

    I wanted to go over some great frost-tolerant crops, for those of you wondering what might be happening to the vegetables you have planted in your gardens right now.

    8 Frost Resistant Vegetables to Try
    By Kathleen Roberts; Master Gardener
    There are lots of frost resistant and cold tolerant vegetables to try. These 8 frost resistant vegetables are some of the most popular as well as the most tolerant to even a hard frost

    Broccoli

    Broccoli can be planted as early as six weeks before the first frost-free date, but it does best as a fall garden crop. Young plants should be hardened off before transplanting into your garden. Broccoli can tolerate temperatures from 26 to 31 degrees.


    Brussels Sprouts

    Brussels sprouts do so well in the cold that they are often harvested well into winter. This is one vegetable that improves in flavor when exposed to cold temperatures. Frosts will actually increase the sugar content, effectively eliminating the bitter taste so often experienced in summer sprouts.


    Cabbage

    Cabbage likes cool temperatures as low as 26 degrees depending on the variety. In fact, you will find they do best in cool fall weather and are rather disappointing in a summer garden. However, if you start them early enough, you can still get a crop before the weather gets too hot. A light frost is thought to improve the sweetness of cabbages. Watch for insects such as cabbage lopers who also like to munch on sweet cabbage plants.

    Kale

    Kale can withstand temperatures as low as 10 degrees and is also noted for improved sweetness after frost. A very hardy vegetable, kale not only tolerates the cold, but it has no problems with insects like cabbage can have.

    Kohlrabi

    Kohlrabi does not like hot summer temperatures at all, but cool weather is rewarded with delicious, sweet bulbs that are wonderful raw or cooked. Transplants can be put out six weeks before frost with an expected harvest in only a few short weeks. Harvest young, about two inches or so in diameter. You can also cook the leaves.

    Peas

    Peas are one of the earliest crops to harvest in the spring. They can tolerate light frosts with temperatures from 31 to 33 degrees. They can be planted from seed four to six weeks before the last expected frost date in your area. Water well and provide something for the vines to climb once they emerge.


    Spinach

    Spinach does very well in cold weather and can tolerate temperatures as low as 20 degrees. It can also be an early spring crop if you grow under a row cover or cold frame to protect it from extremes. Late season seedlings can be mulched heavily for the winter when temperatures reach freezing for a nice spring crop. 

    Turnip

    Turnips are another vegetable that improves in flavor with a frost. They can be planted in very early spring or late into fall in southern climates. The top leaves will die back if temperatures drop below 10 degrees or so, but the root itself will still be good to eat. As long as the ground is still workable, you can continue to harvest turnip roots.

    Frost Resistant Vegetable Tips
    In general, brassica crops are tolerant to frost. This includes broccoli and cabbage as well as cauliflower and radishes. Lettuce is another vegetable that performs best in cool weather.
    Whichever type of vegetables you choose to plant, be sure to look at the directions on the seed packet or plant tag. These directions will guide you so the particular variety you have chosen will do its best.
    Just because you have a vegetable that is considered frost tolerant doesn't mean all varieties of that vegetable can withstand the same temperatures. It is important to note planting times and days to maturity in relation to your frost dates.

    How to Build a Hoop House


    Winter is approaching as our days are getting shorter and much cooler here in the Pacific Northwest.   The weather forecast has been threatening frost for the last few days and we knew we needed to hurry and get our mini "hoop houses" built over our existing raised beds. Afterall, we'd be heartbroken if a heavy frost or light snow damaged our fall garden crops.

     I'm going to go through this very in-expensive way to build a hoop house over your raised beds. Remember to tailor it to your specific needs and feel free to adjust the materials if you already have something on hand that you could use.   There isn't one way for this project to be done right. There are countless options you could use as far as materials go. 
    Be creative. Be resourceful. Reuse and recycle.

    The basic idea of a hoop house is to provide enough shelter to your plants so that you are able to extend the growing season, perhaps even through the entire winter depending on your zone.  
    Your hoop house will be heated by the sun and cooled by the wind.  It will protect your growing vegetables from frost and snow, and help with temperature regulation for your crops. 

     For our hoop houses, we used 3/4 inch electrical conduit for the structural support, and 6 MIL clear plastic sheeting for the enclosure part of the hoop house.  We obtained the conduit for free from another project, and had the plastic already on hand.    We purchased 2 bags of general purpose clamps to secure the sheeting to the conduit frames.  

    For the structural support you don't have to use electrical conduit like we did, you could use PVC pipe. I like the idea of using this conduit however, because it is extremely sturdy. I don't think it will bend as much as the PVC would.

    Instead of plastic sheeting, you could use floating row covers or frost protection landscape fabric.  It really all depends on what zone your gardening in, and what your needs are as far as protection goes. 
    We opted for plastic sheeting because it's what we already had on hand. Maybe in the future we'll go ahead and invest in some nice floating row covers. 
     
     First, bend your structural supports to fit nicely inside of your raised bed. If you're using PVC vs. conduit it will be easier for you.  Keep in mind however, that the conduit will most likely withstand wind and the elements a lot better.

    Position the hoops so that they are all the same height across the bed.  For large beds, we used 4 hoops, for our smaller beds, 3 worked just fine.

     Now screw the hoops to the raised bed to help hold them in place.

    Cut your sheeting or fabric to size so that it will generously cover your raised bed and hoops that have been secured to it.  For our raised bed that was 5' x 8' we cut a piece of plastic that was 10' x 15'. That was enough to cover each side of our new hoop house. 


     Using a staple gun, staple the long sides of sheeting or fabric along the raised bed.  Leave the ends of your tunnel un-stapled.   

     You can fold the ends of the sheeting on top of the tunnel and secure the ends now to the hoop using clamps.  We used 3 for each end of every tunnel. One for each side, and one for the top.  So each hoop house will need 6 clamps. 

     Here, you can see how the ends have been folded up on top of the hoop house and the clamps are holding the sheeting in place.  At night, or when a freeze is due to hit, we can remove the clamps, let the end sheeting down, and reposition the clamps to keep it all secure.   

     Because we have an automatic watering system that waters all of our beds, we can keep the plastic on the hoop houses like this all of the time.  If you are counting on mother nature to do your watering we'd suggest using floating row covers or removing the plastic all together as needed during the day.

    This project really needs to be tailored to suit your individual needs, but the basic idea is all the same regardless of where you live and what your climate is like during fall/winter.  If you're looking to provide your vegetables with protection through the colder months, building mini hoop houses over your existing raised beds is an easy way to do that.  

    The Daily Adventures of Your Typical "Farm Girl"

    This is just a more personal post about the day my youngest and I had. We spent most of the day outside in-between the rain showers.  What you're about to see is very typical of our days around here! Just ask baby "Farm Girl".

    First things first, Noahh just has to see her baby "birds" and the goats.  She hand picks them plenty of fresh herbs and other snacking treats from the gardens. She'll carefully feed them one piece at a time, until her pile of goodies is all gone. The chickens all love baby "Farm Girl" because they know when they see her coming down to their pen, they're about to get some good eatin' in. 


    I love watching how she interacts with each of the girls.  They all have such sweet relationships with her and I love how attentive they are to one another.

    We often check in on the new seedlings starting to pop up out of the ground. Like these baby carrots we planted a couple weeks ago. Almost all of them have sprouted and are growing just fine!

    I love the rain, but the one thing I don't care for are the slugs that come with it. I've been laying slug bait every couple of days but with all this rain we're having a hard time keeping it fresh.

     Noahh is totally grossed out by the slugs by the way. Heck, we're all grossed out. They are huge!
    Stop eating my plants ya little buggers! Enough!


    After we check on the seedlings, Noahh sometimes will sit on a stump in the garden and pick herself some borage flowers. She loves them! They taste like cucumbers and are so pretty.


    Mmmmm borage! I love how Noahh's "dainty" fingers pluck each flower one by one.



    We overlooked the herbs that were still out in the "pizza garden", and some of them are now going to seed. I think we'll harvest all of what's out there minus the seeds and let them just drop.  Hopefully we'll get a decent amount re-seed and come back next year.  We've got a ton of oregano out there that I need to get dehydrated though. I'll get on that.  Tomorrow maybe? 

    Noahh found herself a shovel and began digging in the mulch. She thought that was really something!

    She must have moved a buckets worth of mulch around the garden. Where was she when we were hauling it all back here when we had it delivered? ;)  We could have used her! 


    Our Kiwi and Clematis TeePee is beginning to drop it's leaves. It's looking a little bare these day. This was it's first year and we had a ton of growth on it so I'm anxious to see how much it grows next year!  It should be completely filled in by summer I'm assuming! 

    One day, baby "Farm Girl" will be able to sit underneath here with her sister and read books while conversing with the goats and chickens.  How fun will that be?  Oh I can't wait!

    Apparently our hugelkultur needed a little extra mulch on top of it too! No problem. Baby "Farm Girl" had us covered. 

    Our "olive eggers" left us a nice surprise while we were out as well.  So pretty! 

    Noahh is obsessed with our newly planted "mums" too! She thinks they are lovely! 


    Our broccoli heads are all starting to form. So exciting! Nothing better than Fall broccoli

    Baby "Farm Girl" spotted a couple of apples that needed to be picked so that's exactly what we did. One for me, and one for her!  

    Fresh apples! Noahh's favorite treat these days. She'll eat an entire apple if you give it to her.

    What a great day in the garden we had. So many adventures!
    Are you enjoying your Fall gardens as much as we are?

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