It’s that time of year and as far as I can remember, I’ve never done anything with a pumpkin besides carve a face in it and let it rot outside. Thus, with two sugar pumpkins around, it had to mean roasted pumpkin seeds, fresh pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie! It took several hours to accomplish all of this pumpkin cookery, but accomplished I felt! Here is how to make the most of your pumpkin:
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
– About 2 cups pumpkin seeds
– 2 tbsp. canola oil
– 1 1/2 tsp. salt
First, I rinsed the pumpkins off so there was no residue of dirt or anything on them, then cut the pumpkins each in half and pulled out all the seeds, placing them in a bowl.
Preheat the oven to 300 F. Rinse the seeds off in a colander, picking out all the pulp that was stuck to them and let them sit to dry a bit. Next, toss the seeds with the oil and salt and spread evenly on a baking sheet. Bake for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally so they brown evenly. For a variation in flavor, you can try salt and cinnamon, cinnamon and sugar or salt a garlic. I’m sure there’s plenty of ways these seeds can go, let me know what you try! The finished product:
Fresh Pumpkin Puree
The unsuspecting victim:
Preheat oven to 350 F. Cut the now seedless and stringy fiber-less pumpkins in half again, so that they are in quarters. Cover a baking tray with tin foil and place pumpkins on it with the skin facing outwards. Bake in the oven for about an hour until the pumpkin is soft. Here are the needing-to-be-rinsed seeds and the quartered pumpkins:
After the pumpkins are all baked and soft, the fun begins! Well, sort of. Peel off the skins of all the pumpkins and puree all the pumpkin “meat” in a food processor or blender. Once it is smooth and blended up, you’ll want to drain out as much water as you can. To do this, the best option is probably a cheesecloth covering a colander or strainer. However, I don’t own any cheesecloth, so I chose the less classy option…a clean hand towel. Don’t judge. I covered a colander with the towel and placed it in a bowl so that there was space between the bottom of the straining device (if you will) and the bottom of the bowl. Here is my skillfully constructed draining apparatus:
I’d say you’d want to leave that to sit and drain for a couple of hours, but I got impatient and tried to squeeze all the excess water out instead after an hour. You want it to be relatively dense and not complete mush as you can see in the picture above. You know, similar to the consistency of canned pumpkin (except infinitely better and more satisfying, yes?).
Once enough of the water is out, go crazy! You can freeze the remainder in cup sized portions for later use…or use it all at once. The two sugar pumpkins we had made about 2 cups. I think I squeezed out 2-3 cups of water with my bare hands…
I chose to make pumpkin pie, as you can see below. It was good, except instead of the graham cracker crust I made, I think next time I’ll go for a regular pastry crust so it’s more solid (the pumpkin made the graham cracker a bit soggy). I used this recipe here for Bryanna’s Vegan Pumpkin Pie
You could also mix it up, add some chocolate and make these Pumpkin Pie Brownies
that I made last year while I was abroad in England. Talk about a great combination. Also, for some reason these tasted much better the day AFTER I made them. Go figure.
That’s it for now with the pumpkin-y goodness. Have fun and let me know what YOU do with our favorite autumn time squash!