From the fall harvest we acquire pumpkins, squash, apples and so much more. I try to make the most of this harvest as I possibly can. As we head off to the apple farm, making 2-4 trips each fall, I pick up bushels of apple seconds, squash and pumpkins when they are not growing in my own garden. I usually pick up a few squash on each trip and 2-4 pumpkins each year.
Working with pumpkins is not really all that hard. I think the reason I at first procrastinate is that I love how a pumpkin looks on my fall table setting. The second reason is in the awkwardness in having to cut it in half in order to bake it for what I use it for, yet once I start, the process runs along smoothly.
This morning, I have baked pumpkin in order to make puree for pies, soups and breads. In addition I decided to try my hand at making seasoned pumpkin seeds. Usually I just save a few to try planting the following year.
How I prepare my pumpkin for fresh puree to be used in Pies, breads, cookies, soups, etc.:
- Preheat oven to 375 degree F.
- I cut my pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds and strings (saving the seeds for replanting or making roasted pumpkin seeds)
- To save my pan from burning, I place aluminum foil on my baking pan (I use my cookie sheets) and curl up the edges so that the juice from the baked pumpkin does not burn or run off the edges
- Place my two pumpkin halves cut side down on the aluminum that is over the baking pan, You can remove the pumpkin stem if you wish, I tend not to.
- Bake for 1 1/2 hours
- Remove from oven and cool.
- By cooling, the pumpkin get softer, making it easier to scoop out and work with.
- Scoop out the pumpkin from its shell and place in food processor or blender.
- Blend until smooth.
- Use immediately in recipes or freeze in quart ziploc freezer bags. Lay flat for better storage.
Now, what about those seeds??
Some have made beautiful necklaces out of them, some have shelled them for eating, and some have roasted them in their shells for snacking enjoyment.
There are many recipes online that can share how to make roasted pumpkin seeds. Since I try not to avoid a high intake of salt, my method does not incorporate salt. But, if you are one to enjoy salt, consider sea salt as a healthier option.
CINNAMON COATED PUMPKIN SEEDS
- First I sprayed my cookie sheet with coconut oil, made sure it was well covered to prevent the shells from burning and sticking to the cookie sheet.
- In a bowl, after rinsing my seeds 4 times, I strained them, then put them in a bowl mixed with cinnamon. Since I do not measure “how much” I will estimate maybe a 1/4 – 1/2 tsp of cinnamon.
- If you decide to use salt, you can use the same amount as the cinnamon, yet no more than double what you used.
- Mix the seasonings with your seeds. Yes, the seeds are still wet from rinsing and draining.
- Lay them out in a flat layer on your greased cookie sheet.
- Bake at 350 degree F at 5 minute intervals, turning every 5 minutes for no more than 20 minutes. Twenty minutes was perfect for what I roasted. Whether it was because I oiled my pan well, or the shells were still moist, might be the reason. I’ve read a few other places where people have trouble burning their seeds.
OTHER OPTIONS FOR ROASTED PUMPKIN SEEDS
Plain roasted sunflower seeds w/salt, same method with 1/2 tsp of salt
Sweetened pumpkin flavored – consider 1/4 – 1/2 sugar w/1/2 tsp of pumpkin pie spice
Sweetened – 1/4 c sugar plus 1/4 c butter (or butter substitute for our family – milk sensitivities)
~ Enjoy ~
Laura D. Field
Reflective Tapestry of Life
Writer, Blogger, Proofreading & editing, Freelance contributor