Today we continued our activity of turning our calabasa mexicana (local winter squash) harvest into pumpkin pies for Thanksgiving. As before, we open the squash with a knife and take out all the pulp and seeds, saving the seeds for weighing (approximately 5 % of the weight of a squash is seed) and of course for seed saving. This time we also steamed some of our squash in addition to roasting them in the oven. We will make pie crust dough tomorrow and put them all together on next Monday, the day before our Thanksgiving Feast!
Another activity of the day is to “despepetir” el chile, which basically means separating the seed and stem from the dried fruit of the chile. This is chile we grew at Parr Field. It is originally from Mercedes Trujillo of Centinela, NM, just north-east of Chimayo. You can see Mercedes Trujillo in the book “Sabino’s Map” by Don Usner. You can also see her picture in the Santa Fe restaurant: Casa Chimayo. I was lucky to spend a summer with Mercedes in 1997 helping her irrigate and other duties around the yard and house in between my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees.
This is the chile we grew and will be preparing for our Thanksgiving Feast. From here the chile can be toasted in the oven but will create a kitchen atmospheric phenomenon if it is done that way. It can be put in water in a blender and then boiled to make chile caribe. The making of really good chile is an art form and does not lend itself to articulation of details. I will have to clear it with la mera mera cocinera to see if I am allowed to tell you all how the best chile is made…
And of course the nice thing about chile is you can have your food AND your seed. We are conserving this seed as it is an old traditional line of chile. It is more important to save heritage chile seed if you have it so that we can be on the offensive against potential negative effects of GMO chile that is being developed at New Mexico State University. We are hopeful that since we are breeding this chile for shorter season maturity, and that not many people grow chile this far north, that we will be able to maintain the relative purity of the strain in the face of potential contamination of traditional strains of chile by the GMO chile that is being developed and proliferated down South….