Pumpkin seeds and pumpkin puree.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Meet our $1 pumpkin from the pumpkin patch.
It isn't the prettiest pumpkin you've ever seen, but it will be so useful for what's inside.
And if you've never tried pumpkin seeds or fresh pumpkin puree, I'm begging you, please do!
Nothing tastes so much like Fall.

First, the pumpkin seeds.
Cut the top off of the pumpkin to reveal the pumpkin guts.
Next, my very favorite step, rip out the pumpkin guts.
Show no mercy.
Now place the seeds, some still attached to the stringy pumpkin, in a colander.
Under running water, separate the pumpkin seeds from the pumpkin so you only have the seeds left.
Now pour the wet, slimy seeds onto a clean kitchen towel.
Use the towel to dry the seeds off as much as possible.
Pour the seeds into a bowl and add about 2 tablespoons of oil.
I used peanut oil and I love the nutty flavor it imparts, but you can use canola or vegetable oil as well. This is to make sure the seeds are roasted well in the oven.
Stir in the oil and add salt to taste. I probably added around a teaspoon.
Spread the oily, salty raw seeds onto a baking sheet.
Put into the oven at 400°F for about 12 minutes, keeping a close eye on them so they don't burn.
You want them just toasted like so.
Pour the seeds into a pretty little bowl and try not to eat them in one sitting. They really are that good.

Now for the rest of the pumpkin.
Preheat your oven to 350°F.
Cut the pumpkin in half lengthwise.
And pull it apart so you have two halves.

Using a large metal spoon, scrape out the stringy pumpkin pulp.
Place the pumpkin halves down on a baking sheet and pour 1 cup of water in the pan.
Place in the oven for 90 minutes.
Watch them sweat it out.
This is how my pumpkin came out of the oven. Doesn't look very appetizing, but it's done its job.
If yours comes out like mine, you can simply peel the leathery pumpkin skin off to reveal the pumpkin meat which will be turned into puree. If yours isn't quite so easy, you can just flip the pumpkin over and scrape out the meat with a spoon. It should come out very, very easily either way.
Place the pumpkin meat in a food processor.
I haven't tried it, but I'm sure you could use a food grinder or even a potato masher for this part.
And voila! Pumpkin puree! It should be about the consistency of applesauce when you're finished. You can use it in quickbreads, muffins, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin soup... the possibilities are endless!

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