Monday, November 21, 2011

Pumpkin Puree & Salty Pumpkin Seeds

We just had our first Minnesota snowfall of the season and upon seeing that first bit of snow, I immediately starting longing for sweatpants, flannel, hot cocoa, and Christmas music.  I adore winter, even these Minnesota winters!  And if you know me but at all, you know that my fondness for winter comes with a dislike of summer.  It's true!  Give me December over July any day.  So this Saturday night, I finally decided to tackle the three sugar pumpkins I bought a few weeks ago at the St. Paul Farmers' Market.  It seemed fitting for the snowy occasion! 

It's so incredibly easy to break down a pumpkin into fresh puree and, bonus, you get to roast the seeds into salty deliciousness!  Fresh pumpkin can really make a difference in your pumpkin recipes, so buy a sugar pumpkin at your local farmers' market or co-op and try out these recipes.  (Note: don't use a regular Halloween pumpkin for baking -- make sure you buy a sugar pumpkin.  They are a little smaller than your typical carving pumpkin.) 

I'll be cooking with the pumpkin puree all winter long, and so can you!

Baked and Pureed Sugar Pumpkin
Depending on the size of the pumpkin, you can get 2-5 cups of pureed pumpkin.

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.  Carve out the stem of the pumpkin using a pairing knife.  Cut off the seeds from the top and put them into a large bowl. 

Then, chop the entire pumpkin in half using a large, sharp knife.  Next, using a large spoon, scrape the stringy parts and seeds out of the pumpkin, and put all of that into your bowl.  Getting out all of the insides might require some muscle...really scrape it out! 

Once you have a cleaned pumpkin, place the halves as best you can into a baking dish, cut side down.  Fill the baking dish with about 1/2 inch of water.  Bake the pumpkin until the skin is easily pierced with a fork. 

Once the skin is browned and the pumpkin is tender, remove the pan from the oven and let the pumpkin cool, still cut-side down, until you can handle it easily.  Then, scrape the pumpkin off of the skin using a spoon.  It should come right off without any problems. 

Once you've collected all of the pumpkin flesh, puree it in batches in a food processor or blender.  I measure out two cups of pureed pumpkin and put them into freezer bags.  Stash them in the freezer until you're ready to cook! 

Salty Pumpkin Seeds

While the pumpkin is cooking, start on the seeds.  Using your fingers, separate the seeds from the stringy bits and throw those bits away, keeping the seeds in the bowl.  Once you've gotten most of the insides separated, rinse the seeds and try to remove the rogue bits of pumpkin. 

Put the seeds back into the bowl and add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.  Then add whatever salty flavors you want.  You could try Lawry's seasoning salt, a bit of cayenne pepper, or go sweet and add cinnamon and sugar. 

Roast the seeds at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, turning them about half way through the cooking.  I roast mine a little longer because I like them super browned. 

Let the seeds cool before putting them in an airtight container.  Try not to eat them all at once!! 

No comments:

Post a Comment