By Christine Springer
This post is a really nice how-to for the holiday season. Pumpkins are in season and inexpensive.
Like the apple butter recipe, it is pretty tough to mess this up. This is a great way to save some money and avoid can liners with BPA if you're concerned about that. You also get pumpkin seeds free.
The store bought varieties of seeds are normally coated with soybean or canola oils. Yuck! Stay tuned for a recipe for pumpkin seeds.
I started with this small Sugar Pie pumpkin. This one is not organic, although the first one I roasted was. I picked it up from Whole Foods and it was grown by Durst Farms. I even looked them up on the internet because the pumpkin was just gorgeous on the inside and out.
Wash the pumpkin to get any debris off the outside. Place it on a safe cutting surface.
Because the pumpkin is round, it's more likely to roll and it could get away from you. The easy way to solve this is to cut the top or bottom off so it isn't rounded. It will stay in place much better than if you try to cut it without a flat bottom.
If your pumpkin is still hard (this one was), it might be a challenge to cut through it. I don't use my expensive kitchen knives if I just want to hack off a chunk. I use an old knife and the flat side of a meat tenderizer to gently tap the knife through the pumpkin flesh.
Cut off the top and bottom of the pumpkin. Then split it in half, and clean out the seeds.
Note that you do not need to be a perfectionist on the pumpkin scraping. You really just want to make sure to remove most of the strings and get the seeds out.
If you want to roast your pumpkin seeds, reserve them. I put mine into a bowl of water and they separated really easy from from stringy insides.
I placed my pumpkin pieces face down on pan lining paper on a baking sheet. I did not use any oil on them, but you can if you prefer to do so.
Cook the pumpkin at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes. It will turn a lovely golden brown. If you're not sure if it's cooked completely, use a fork to test it. If it goes through the flesh without resistance, it's done.
I roasted mine for 60 minutes, but adjust the time for the size of your pumpkin. Keep in mind that it will continue cooking for a few minutes after you remove it from the oven.
Let the pumpkin cool for at least half an hour. As you can see, the skin will loosen and you can peel it off pretty easily. I just used my fingers to peel the skin off.
You can use the entire flesh of the pumpkin in your recipes. If you aren't going to use it right away, you can puree it and freeze it or just leave it un-pureed. I put mine in the freezer without pureeing it. If you are going to use it in the next couple of days, you can store it in the fridge.
Use your freshly roasted pureed pumpkin just like you would use canned pumpkin.
Also, if you are saving your seeds for later, leave them on a kitchen towel to dry out. If you put them into a plastic bag or container they will get moldy. I didn't use mine right away and left them on a covered paper plate for several days to prevent mold.
I hope you enjoyed this post! Let me know how yours turns out!