Get the Most from Your Pumpkin
Posted on Thursday, September 25th, 2014 at 7:00 am
We tend to think of the pumpkins that we see in the grocery store as a fall decoration. Don’t forget that a pumpkin is actually food! It is related to some of the other winter squashes. This year, instead of just carving a pumpkin, why not consider eating it? Here are some ideas that will help you get the most from your pumpkin.
How to Use an Entire Pumpkin
Use fresh pumpkin instead of canned.
Food Network has an informative article by Alton Brown about how to make pumpkin puree. Canned pumpkin is actually pureed pumpkin. The pumpkin puree that you make at home can be substituted for canned pumpkin in a recipe. You will need to start with a pumpkin that has not yet been carved.
In short, you need to cut your pumpkin in half from top to bottom. Remove the “goop” (the fiber and the seeds) with a spoon. Sprinkle the halves with kosher salt and put them, flesh side up, on a parchment paper-lined half sheet pan. You may need to cut some of the pumpkin skin off the back to make the halves sit nicely. Roast it for 30 to 45 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Let the pumpkin halves cool for one hour. Then, you can use a large spoon to remove the pumpkin flesh. Put it into a food processor to make it smooth. You now have fresh pumpkin puree!
What can you do with the pumpkin puree? Substitute it for the canned pumpkin in recipes for pumpkin pie, pumpkin biscuits, pumpkin bread, or pumpkin muffins. Freeze small individual portions of pumpkin puree and use them later as baby food or to put into a smoothie. Make some pumpkin soup.
Eat the pumpkin seeds.
Remove the pumpkin seeds from the fibers. The seeds are a delicious and nutritious snack. It is safe to eat pumpkin seeds shell and all. Or, you could crack open the shells and eat the nut meat by itself. Pumpkin seeds can be added to all kinds of things including: trail mix, muffins, pumpkin bread, and more.
Another option is to roast the pumpkin seeds. Leave the seeds in their shells if you plan on roasting them. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Put the pumpkin seeds into a bowl and pour melted butter and salt over them. Next, put the seeds on a baking sheet. Bake them for 45 minutes (or until they turn a golden brown color).