Saturday, November 29, 2008

Cook with your old Halloween Pumpkin

Have you read the comments that a field pumpkin (the kind that you carve Jack O'Lanterns out of) is not good for cooking? It is true that the field pumpkin, unlike the sugar pumpkin tends to be a bit stringy. However, in most pumpkin recipes you cook and then process the pumpkin, effectively altering the texture to a smooth puree, so the initial texture does not matter. One rule of thumb for frugal decorators - use a non-toxic, water based pen to draw your jack 'o lantern design rather than cutting the pumpkin, so you can take advantage of the cooking later.

Now that Thanksgiving is over, it is time to remove your fall decorations and replace them with holiday decorations. Before you through out that pumpkin, why not make a tasty treat?

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Use the largest, sharpest knife that you own and cut open the pumpkin.
  3. Pull out all of the seeds and place them in a colander.
  4. Pour running water over the seeds to remove the strings and slimy texture.
  5. Place seeds in a ziplock bag with a generous amount of spices. If you prefer traditional spices, just add salt. If you like your seeds with a kick, add chili powder or Jamaican jerk seasoning.
  6. Coat all seeds in the baggie.
  7. Place the seeds on a cookie sheet covered in cooking spray in a single layer.
  8. Place in the oven and cook for 20 minutes, flipping the seeds at 10 minutes.
Pumpkin Puree for all of your baking needs
  • Continue cutting pumpkin into small chunks - 3 to 4 inches around
  • Place a large steamer tray in your largest soup pot and fill the bottom with 2 inches of water
  • Place all pumpkin in the pot
  • Heat stove to medium and place the pumpkin on the stove
  • Cook until the pumpkin turns a darker color and the consistency is mushy
  • Remove Pumpkin from pot and cut off rinds
  • Place rindless pumpkin into food processor or blender and turn on.
  • Add water as necessary to turn the consistency into what looks like baby food
  • Place in 1 to 2 cup containers and freeze all pumpkin that you are not planning on using for a couple of days.
Tomorrow, I'll add some great recipes for your pumpkin puree. You've worked hard enough today, so take the rest of the day off.

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