Thursday, November 4, 2010

Pumpkin Puree and Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

We failed to carve our pumpkins this year...Halloween just sneaked up on us too quickly. Luckily I found some recipes for making pumpkin puree from just regular carving pumpkins (instead of pie pumpkins). It was a really long and hard task but we have tons of pumpkin puree now for pumpkin pie, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin bread, pumpkin cookies and a boatload of other goodies.

Pumpkin Puree
Wash the exterior of the pumpkin in cool or warm water, no soap. Remove the seeds and scrape the insides. Cut the pumpkin into slices and then into manageable sized pieces to fit your pot. There are several ways to cook the pumpkin; just choose use your preferred method. Method 1 - Put it in a microwaveable bowl. Put a couple of inches of water in the bowl, cover it, and put in the microwave. Method 2 - Steam or cook on the stovetop. Method 3 - Bake in the oven.
Cook 15-30 minutes, until it's soft enough to scoop out the flesh with a broad, smooth spoon, (such as a tablespoon). Use the spoon to scrape the peel but scooping just under the surface. It should separate easily if the pumpkin is cooked enough. If your pumpkin puree has standing water, you may want to let it sit for 30 minutes and then pour off any water. That will help prevent your puree from being too watery! Puree the pumpkin flesh with a hand blender, regular blender, food processor or hand mixer until it's smooth. You are now can use the puree right now or freeze.

Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
Cut a fresh, well-ripened pumpkin in half. Remove the membrane and seeds. Remove most of the pulp from the seeds (leaving some pulp on is okay because it adds to the flavor; for the same reason, do not rinse the seeds). Heat oven to 300. Spread 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil in a shallow pan. Sprinkle seeds over oil in single layer. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon salt over seeds. Bake 20 minutes or until lightly browned; cool.

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