You Can Cook a Pumpkin?
So, I’m one of those people that love the pumpkin pie, desserts and muffins that come in the fall. I hadn’t made pumpkin puree and roasted pumpkin seeds for several years and thought the grands may be surprised that you could actually cook a pumpkin and not just make it into a jack-o-lantern!
Easy Peasy Pumpkin Puree
This is one of those things that definitely looks harder than it is. Pumpkin doesn’t have to come from a can and you don’t have to be Betty Crocker to make your own pumpkin puree!
The first thing to know is that we use a different type of pumpkin for puree then we do for carving. The pumpkins to use are called sugar pumpkins, baking pumpkins or pie pumpkins and are available in the grocery stores. They are sweeter then the large carving pumpkins. Purchase 2 small sugar pumpkins.
Cooking the Pumpkins
Cut the pumpkin in half and scrape out the seeds and pulp. Put the insides aside in a bowl because we will roast the seeds later!
Place the pumpkin halves on a cookie sheet (I placed them face up but you can also place them face down, it doesn’t matter).
Roast in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes, until they are golden brown and tender when you poke them with a fork.
Making Pumpkin Puree
Let them cool a bit so you can handle them and then scoop the pumpkin out of the skin. I used a food processor to puree a few chunks at a time but I would think that a blender or a potato masher would work too. Mine was pretty dry and wouldn’t puree easily so I added a Tablespoon or two of water at a time until it blended well. It’s possible that it could be too watery as well. If that happens you may need to strain it to remove some moisture.
Pack a Peck of Pumpkin Puree
Use the puree right away in a recipe or pack it in plastic freezer bags to use later. I put a cup of puree in each bag. Make sure to save two cups for the perfect pumpkin pie recipe we will make next week!
The Roasted Pumpkin Seed Bonus
Now those seeds! Let’s just say that they didn’t last long once roasted.
Cleaning the Pumpkin Seeds
It’s kind of fun sticking your fingers into that bowl of gooey mess that we set aside earlier. Just break the pulp and seeds apart and start throwing the guts part away and separating off the seeds. After doing this for a bit I put it all into water and skimmed off the floating seeds, placing them in a strainer. Yes, that is a vintage Tupperware strainer from a 1982 wedding shower. Don’t make fun of me! It worked perfectly to wash and clean the seeds.
I simmered the seeds in a pan on the stove for about 10 minutes. I read that this can help keep the inside of the seed from burning while roasting. Worth the time I think, but it is an optional step.
Seasoning the Seeds
Towel dry the seeds and spread them on a cookie sheet. Add a teaspoon of oil and mix throughout the seeds. Sprinkle with salt. (If you are adventurous you can try other flavors.)
Roasting Pumpkin Seeds
Bake for about 30 minutes in a 325 degree oven. Stir a couple times while baking. They will turn a golden color and get crispy. Take care to not overbrown them.
You will have a hard time letting them cool down before eating them. (Yes, I burned my tongue) Oh my, roasted pumpkin seeds are so very yummy! In case you were wondering, you can eat the whole seed!
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- 2 pie pumpkins
- 1 teaspoon olive oil (or oil of your choice)
- Pumpkin Puree:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Cut the pumpkins in half
- Scrape out the seeds and pulp into a bowl because we will roast the seeds later
- Place the pumpkin halves on a cookie sheet (placed face up or face down, it doesn’t matter)
- Roast for 45 minutes, until they are golden brown and tender when you poke them with a fork.
- Let them cool a bit so you can handle them
- Scoop the pumpkin out of the skin
- Use a food processor to puree a few chunks at a time (if pumpkin is dry add a Tablespoon or two of water at a time until it blends well)
- Use the puree right away in a recipe or pack in plastic freezer bags to use later, 1 cup of puree in each bag
- Roasted Pumpkin Seeds:
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees
- Place the seeds and pulp into water and skim off the floating seeds
- Wash and clean the seeds in a strainer
- Simmer the seeds in a pan of water on the stove for about 10 minutes (this step is optional)
- Towel dry the seeds and spread them on a cookie sheet.
- Add a teaspoon of oil and mix throughout the seeds.
- Sprinkle with salt.
- Bake for about 30 minutes in a 325 degree oven, stirring a couple times and bake till golden in color and crispy