Pumpkin Pie Sans Packaging

I’m not huge into making pies, but I really wanted to try to make a real pumpkin pie and avoid all packaging – a Thanksgiving challenge for myself!

I got my hands on some pie pumpkins, which is easy to do, and I really only needed one. Chopped in half, and gutted, they went cut side down into the oven to roast until super tender.

It’s very easy to peel afterwards.

First, I mashed it with a potato masher and this is what it looked like.

Then I gave it the immersion blender treatment.

Much more of a purée now!

It was super thick so I decided I didn’t need to strain it at all.

Obviously I needed to make pie crust. I’ve never figured out what the big deal is with pie crust. I just follow directions and it turns out every time.

This one couldn’t be simpler:

  • 6 ounces butter, cold, diced
  • 2 cups flour, I used white whole wheat
  • 1/3 cup + maybe more of ice water (mine needed more)

Mix flour and butter first, then add ice water and if needed add more 1 tablespoon at a time.

I wrapped mine in homemade beeswax wrap and stuck it in the freezer, then realized I should have put it in the fridge. I had to wait a while to roll it out.

For the pie filling:

  • 2 cups pumpkin
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg
  • Allspice
  • Salt

Whisk together.

I wanted my shell a bit pre-baked so it was in the oven, then I poured the filling into the shell.

Cook at 350 F for about 55 – 60 minutes.

The pie smells amazing, but a little warning here; I was using the oven for sweet potatoes and slid this pie onto a rack that was only 1 away from the one I was using. The pie pan fit perfectly, but then the filling rose a bit and off came some of the top! So, it’s not pretty now and I never make nice pie shell crusts. I’m sharing it anyway to be as real as possible and show the not-so-pretty side of not wasting perfectly good food.

Peace and love,

Kristan

Thanksgiving at School

Today and tomorrow are the days we are celebrating Thanksgiving in my Kindergarten classroom. Historical accuracy is important to me, so I try my best to teach the students the history of the holiday. I also did some research on what foods would have or could have been present at the first or second Thanksgiving. Beans, corn, and squash were on my menu, as well as chestnuts. I cooked up mayacoba beans and roasted and laboriously peeled chestnuts.

To keep this fun day trash free, all ingredients were package free, and I brought plates from home for the students to eat from. I always have a small set of silverware at school. They ate in turns, like rotating stations, and I simply washed the plates and forks in between rotations.


To cook chestnuts: score an X on the flat side, through the shells and slightly into the meat. Bake at 425 Fahrenheit for 20 minutes, then peel. My fingernails are still suffering from the process, but I had never even tried a chestnut before yesterday, and I have to say it was worth the pain. They are delicious! Nutty and sweet, and softer than expected.

The students made butter from cream by shaking it in a baby food jar; even though that part is not historically accurate, it’s too much fun not to include in the day’s activities. They chopped bell peppers, zucchini, potatoes, and green onions. The night before, I prepared a butternut squash from my garden and took it with me to add to our vegetable medley. I don’t eat meat and so I would never buy it for my students. I wouldn’t know where to purchase venison anyway.

I keep a plug in skillet at school for such occasions. It was given to us by a family member and it’s not something I would use at home.

Thanksgiving feast menu:

Potatoes, zucchini, winter squash, green onion, bell peppers – all package free

Sage – garden

Mayacoba beans – cooked from scratch + bought in bulk

Cream for butter – returnable glass bottle

Candy corn – reusable bulk bag

Chestnuts – reusable bulk bag

I have control over what kind of festivities happen in my classroom, and I expect them to align with my values. I composted scraps and am feeding any leftovers to my hens.

Basically a trash free classroom party! Produce stickers and napkins were tossed. I get a stack of napkins each time the vegetable grant comes to my room, so I feel that I should use those.

How would you implement zero waste into the classroom?

Peace and love,

Kristan