Continuing a tradition of Franciscan “Butchering”

Although there may not be anything explicit in our Rule, butchering (pumpkins, that is) actually can be considered a appropriately Franciscan activity.    By this, I mean the process of cutting up, baking, and mashing them before freezing them for future use.

One quote from our directives which supports this idea is the following:

“We are acquainted with the problems of our environment.  Therefore, we use the gifts of nature responsibly; and like Francis, we encounter all creation with reverence.”

Many people simply throw out pumpkins, but I hate to do so.  As one of my fellow Sisters remarked, there are so many people in this world going hungry, and it’s a shame to waste perfectly good food.  The above exhortation for the responsible use of “the gifts of nature” seems to favor the willingness to do some extra work and make pumpkin purée, rather than just tossing them in the dumpster.

I mentioned my history with pumpkins in an earlier post; suffice it here to say that we’ve had a number of them donated again this year.  We had used several of them to decorate our chapel around Thanksgiving time.  Today, in preparation for the first Sunday of Advent and the Advent wreath, we removed them.

I will confess, it is a lot of work, between cutting, baking, and mashing, but I know our residents will enjoy the pumpkin muffins and cookies I’ll be able to provide in the coming months, thanks to the 25 quarts we froze this fall.

I am not the first sister here at St. Anne’s to have any experience with pumpkin.  At lunch today, other Sisters who have served here for years recalled a 60-pound pumpkin which they had to roll down the hallway to transport it to its death; it was ‘butchered’ by the maintenance man throwing it on the ground.

unnamedIn closing, I’ll say that I think I’ll ‘sleep good tonight’ and I’m glad that the butchering seems to be done for the year. I’d also like to express my gratitude to Sr. Mary Ruth, visiting this weekend, and Betty, an apartment resident, for all their wonderful help!

Sr. Christina M. Neumann

2 thoughts on “Continuing a tradition of Franciscan “Butchering”

  1. We all come from different backgrounds. Here at St. Anne’s we are in the heart of farming country. Although I was a city girl, I was taught to respect the food that reached our table due to the “Grace of God”. This included the collection and preparation of fish, wild mushrooms, wild fruits & nuts to hand over to my mother, who would can or store them or prepare delicious meals.

    Even today, butchering the pumpkins has been a learning experience. We found some cooked faster than others, were easier to peel and sweeter. I found out that pumpkins are low in calories but high in Vitamin A and potassium, cholesterol-free and a good source of fiber. They are a recommended addition to dog and cat food for digestive & urinary health and weight loss.

    But, in learning this, I could not avoid reading about the importantance pumpkin seeds. They are the only edible item that actually improves in nutritional value as it ages. Seeds stored over 5 months show a marked increase in protein content. However, if you just can’t wait that long to eat them, be aware that they will lower your LDL; are high in zinc to combat osteoporosis; reduce inflammation; help prevent the formation of kidney stones and are good for prostrate health. They are also high in protein, filled with minerals, Vitamin K, E and the B group.

    I can’t help but wonder if the Franciscans might become seed collectors as well. Pumpkin seeds would be wonderful in bread, cookies or bars.


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