How to use your Fall pumpkin decorations! Part 1: Roasting Seeds & Puree

 There is nothing better to mark the beginning of Fall than placing a pumpkin on your front porch! But what do you do with those festive pumpkins and jack o lanterns after the season? I'm going to cover some yummy, creative, and practical ways to get more out of your pumpkins!

 

 

 

 Let's start with the yummy stuff! Most people see this native North American plump winter squash as just a decoration. It was an important food source for most of our ancestors, and your grandparent probably remembers eating many a pumpkin dish! Some pumpkin varieties are "meatier," which means they work better for cooking than the more hollow jack-o-lantern varieties. Whichever type you have, why not have your decoration and eat it too! I've decided to pick the two easiest to start off this blog series! 

 

Roast Your Pumpkin Seeds:

It doesn't matter what kind of pumpkin you have, they all have seeds in the core, but the number of seeds will vary depending on the type of pumpkin you have. If you are carving up a jack-o-lantern, this is the perfect time to gather up seeds. 

Step 1:  Use a large soup spoon or ice cream scoop to scrape out the seeds and pulp. Separate the pulp from the seeds as much as you can. Save the pulp for some of the following recipes. 

Step 2: Place the seeds in a collider and put them under running water to wash off the pulp. Try to get as much off the seeds as possible, but it will not hurt if a little is left. 

Step 3: Spread seeds out on a towel to help soak up the water. You will want to get them as dry as possible. Placing a second towel on top and pressing it down with your hands can help speed the process up. 

Step 4: Pour dried seeds into a medium-size mixing bowl. Then add olive or coconut oil, mixing it in until seeds are evenly covered. Now you can add seasons to the mix! You can go for a sweet or spicy taste. Here are some great seasonings you can add: salt, garlic powder, paprika, cumin, curry, chili, honey, cinnamon, and black pepper. Now spread the seeds out on a baking sheet. You may want to line your baking sheet with parchment paper. 

Step 5: To roast your seeds set your oven at 350°F (177ºC) for about 12 to 15 minutes. You will want to toss the seeds around on the trays every 5 minutes for even roasting. Once the seeds turn a golden brown, they are ready to pull out of the oven. Let cool and enjoy! 

 

Make a Pumpkin Puree: (You will need this for later recipes) 

We picked up our fall pumpkins from Allen Farms, a local farm that grows various shapes, colors, and sizes of pumpkins. From the gourmet pumpkin to the jack-o-lantern carving kind, so I was able to get some beautiful cinderella, fairytale, and Musquee Provence pumpkins for this series of blog posts! 

-Pre-heat your oven to 400F 

Step 1: Cut your pumpkin by placing the tip of the knife at the base of the stem, cutting downward until reaching the cutting board. Repeat this step on the opposite side. Now pry the pumpkin apart into two pieces. 

Step 2: Scoop out all the seeds and stringy fibers. SAVE your SEEDS for roasting! 

Step 3: Place both pumpkin pieces on a lined cookie sheet. Sprinkle salt on the inside pumpkin halves and then spray a light coat of olive oil over the freshly cut pumpkin. Turn the sections over, so they are cut side down, and the rine is on the outside. 

Step 4: Your oven should be pre-heated to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place cooking sheet inside and bake for 45-60 min. When done, you should be able to poke through the skin with a knife, and the skin should peel quickly away from the flesh. 

Step 5: Once your cooked pumpkin is cooled, scoop out the flesh and place it inside a food processor. I have a large ninja blinder I use for all my food prepping and processing. Process until smooth and creamy. 

Step 6: You can use the puree right away, store it in the fridge for up to a week, or freeze it for up to three months. 

 

We will use the pumpkin puree in the next blog post to make some yummy Fall goodies!