Given the season and all that jazz, it was time for Nick to do his annual pumpkin cookin’. Once a year, when the pumpkins are ripe, he prepares enough puree for the freezer, to make plenty of pies and soup. This year I’ll be borrowing some of it to make a dessert, some bread, and muffins too. Mmmm .. lots of pumpkin goodness!
We have access to new information in time for this year’s pumpkin fest … for the first time, people in Ontario have gained access to our stats on electricity usage. How much each day has cost us, etc. So we discovered that, in order to save our coppers for something more fun than electricity usage, we would get the big oven (as opposed to the toaster oven) heated up on a Saturday, when rates were lower. In addition to the pumpkin stuff, Nick also prepared some bread crumbs and made a delicious homemade pizza, (which I’ll show in a later post during the week), while he had the oven hot.
Here are some photos showing the process to make roasted pumpkin puree (to use in place of the boiled canned stuff, which is still good, but not as good) and toasted pumpkin seeds.
Let’s start with the puree:
Select small cooking pumpkins (as opposed to large jack-o-lantern ones). Cut, remove seeds, place on pans with fitted racks, add water to the bottom (so they won’t dry out). Place in pre-heated 350 degree oven for about 1.5 hours, or until the flesh is very soft. Remove the skin and use pulp right away to make a pie or something, or put in freezer bags for later use. We have taste-tested both, frozen and non-frozen pulp in a pie and honestly you absolutely cannot tell the difference. Note that we didn’t put the cooked pumpkin in the food processor or anything … it is not required because we used tender, non-stringy cooking pumpkins. When you use it later to make a pie (for example) you’ll use a hand-blender in the process and this will break it up just fine.
Now let’s toast the seeds:
Wash the seeds to remove the pulp. If you do this in a colander over a bowl you’ll notice that the seeds float, making your job easy! Remove them from the water with a slotted spoon and then toss them in a small amount of peanut oil, (we used about 2 teaspoons for our quantity). Sprinkle with salt. Place inside pre-heated 350 degree oven for 45 minutes or until nicely toasted, tossing every 15 minutes.
Since these seeds are from small cooking pumpkins the shells are soft and do not have to be removed for eating. Here’s to lots of added fiber!