Sunday, September 30, 2012

Save a Pumpkin

Don’t let those pumpkins you bought for decoration go to waste.  You do not have to buy cans of pumpkin when you have fresh pumpkin already.  Here are several ways to save that pumpkin.

Baking a Pumpkin

Cut the pumpkin open and scoop out the seeds.  Save the seeds and I’ll talk later about drying and roasting them. Place pumpkin halves face down in a baking dish. Add 1/2" of water to pan: this helps keep the pumpkin flesh moist.

Bake at 450º until you can pierce the skin with a fork (about 45 minutes to an hour).

Scoop flesh out of shell with a spoon.  Fill mason jars with the soft pumpkin and use in your favorite pumpkin recipes.

The Microwave

Cut pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds. Cut the pumpkin into large chunks (so it will fit in microwave), leaving skin on. Place pumpkin chunks in a shallow, microwave-safe dish with a lid (or cover with plastic wrap).

Spray the cut pumpkin surfaces with cooking spray, and cover. Cook on high for 15 minutes, or until tender (feels soft and cooked).

Alternately, you can add water to the dish, eliminating the spray, to keep the pumpkin from drying out.

Stove Top

Cut pumpkin in half, scooping out the seeds. Then, cut pumpkin into large chunks, but leave the skin on.

Place chunks in a large steamer basket (I use a colander placed inside a dutch oven, with water on the bottom). Steam for 20 minutes, or until pumpkin is tender.

Cool and scoop out the pumpkin.

Drying Pumpkin Seeds

Don’t let those seeds go to waste either.  Save the seeds you scooped out of the pumpkin.

Wash the pumpkin seeds carefully. Separate them from the stringy pumpkin tissue. I do this by rinsing the seeds under water over a colander.

Preheat the oven to its lowest setting. It should be lower than 150 degrees F. Place the seeds on a cookie sheet. Put them in the oven for 3 to 4 hours.

Stir seeds with a spoon every 30 minutes to an hour so that they don't scorch.

After you have dried them to roast: take dried pumpkin seeds and toss with oil and/or salt and roast in a preheated oven at 250 degrees F for 10 to 15 minutes.

This week I will share a pumpkin soup recipe and other pumpkin recipes with you that you can use that pumpkin you have saved from the garbage.

Have a terrific Monday.  Be happy and may God bless you and yours. 

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