Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Plenty of Pumpkin, Part 1...

I think I have carved a jack-o-lantern just about every year of my life. Somewhere in my teenage years, I started to save the pumpkin seeds and flesh for cooking. After all, it's a lot of work so you might as well reap some benefits.

Most people will agree that roasting the pumpkin seeds is one of the best parts and best rewards about carving a pumpkin. After rinsing some of the stringy pumpkin that invariably comes out with the seeds, I toss the seeds in a bit of olive oil before spreading them out evenly on a baking sheet. We coated the seeds in salt and pepper and Old Bay, this being Baltimore and all. We baked the seeds for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees but we made sure to check them frequently and toss them so they wouldn't burn.
After all the seeds were out of the pumpkin, the scraping commenced. It's a lot of work to scrape the inside of a pumpkin. We had a rather large pumpkin and it only yielded about 2 1/2 cups of pumpkin puree when it was all said and done. I use a handy dandy pumpkin scraper that I got in a carving kit a few years back but I've also used a regular old tablespoon a few times. Both will work. I think I could have scraped a little longer and gotten some more meat from the giant gourd but Johnnycakes was rushing me.

After scraping the meat from inside the pumpkin, I boiled the meat for about 15 minutes and then strained it in a colander. Believe it or not, but in the old days I don't think I knew you were supposed to boil the pumpkin and I would prepare pies and other goodies with raw pumpkin! It must not have been too bad because I always ate it.


Once the pumpkin cooled a bit, I pureed it in a food processor to create a smooth texture for the final product. As I stated above, after all that work, I only got about 2 1/2 cups of pumpkin puree.

Now for the fun part. After all that work, it was finally time to start making the pumpkin pie and anything else I could make with what ever pumpkin puree I had left...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice Pumpkin. We did not have trick or treaters this year. The church behind our house did a festival.
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