It’s Pumpkin Season! The other day a couple of friends gave me some pumpkins. The “Ghost Pumpkin” is from a rogue patch that grew over her compost pile. She ended up with about 50 of them! The other has apparently produced just as well and I am lucky enough to gather some of the spoils!
Today I’m making puree from the orange one. (I think I’ll save the other for decoration) This simple process will allow me to replace canned with fresh in all my recipes. I like to use homegrown food whenever possible. It just tastes better. And after all, taste is what it’s all about right?!
I’ve set my oven to 350 degrees and washed my pumpkins to remove any loose dirt from the field.
Cut them into quarters. Clean out the seeds and fibrous insides. Set the seeds aside for later use. Place the quarters on a cooking sheet and bake for 60 to 90 minutes depending on the size.
Now you may want to use the seeds for or planting of make some yummy roasted snacks with them.
This particular one didn’t have too many seeds, probably do to the fact that it was not overly large to begin with. At any rate, I’m going to go ahead and roast them. They will make a nice treat to munch on while at work. And besides, the oven is already hot.
Remove the seeds from the “guts”. I just use my hands and pick them out and toss them into a strainer.
Rinse them gently and then lay them out on a paper towel to dry slightly while the pumpkin is cooking. This will help the butter to cover well.
Check the pumpkin in the oven for doneness by scooping a section with a spoon. They should be the consistency of cooked squash.
Once you have pulled the cooked pumpkin from the oven, set it upside down to cool so that the excess water can drain off.
Now turn your attention back to the seeds.
In a small sauce pan melt one teaspoon of butter per cup of seeds. Add a pinch of Salt and some Black Pepper. Remove from heat and stir together with the seeds. Of course you can vary the seasoning to your taste, but we like black pepper around here.
Spread them thinly on a cookie sheet and bake for 40 – 50 minutes or until golden brown. Stir them a couple times while they are cooking to ensure an even color.
I just use the same sheet I used for the pumpkin. Why do more dishes than I have to??
Cool and eat!
Once the pumpkin has cooled enough to handle, take a spoon and scoop the flesh away from the skin. You can leave it as is or mash it. Personally I like to give it a quick whirl in my blender. It gives it a nice smooth consistency.
I got 8 cups of puree from this one pumpkin. I’ve got plans for muffins tomorrow. And after that? Well you’ll just have to check back later to see what else I’m going to make!