Pumpkin Projects

Fall is officially here and I am loving it! Fall means beautiful days, cool nights, a chance for snow, and pumpkins! I will be the first to admit that I still love to carve pumpkins, only now I love to cook with them as well. Pumpkin seeds are such a yummy way to use something that most people throw away. It is also so easy! When you head out to pick up some pumpkins this year, remember to grab a baking pumpkin as well to get a jump start on Thanksgiving preparation. We got these beauties at Anderson’s farms…if you haven’t been to their premier corn maze…check it out.

Here are a couple easy projects for a fall evening. What else do you do to celebrate the cooler weather?

Mary & Kelly

Pumpkin Puree

Cut a hole in the top of your baking pumpkin to remove the stem and then cut in half.

Remove the seeds and put them in a bowl of salt water to brine; set aside.

Place the pumpkin halves cut side down on a lined baking sheet. If you don’t want the bottom to brown, add a little water in the bottom of the pan, which will help it steam, not roast.

Bake the pumpkin at 350° for 30 minutes-1 hour (depending on size and the thickness of the flesh) until the flesh is tender.

Scoop the flesh out of the shell and allow to cool. At this point, if you want to use in casseroles, soups, stews or stir fries. Go for it. Otherwise…

You can save this in the refrigerator for up to a week.

When you are ready, place the flesh in a blender or food processor (adding a little water if necessary) and blend until smooth. The food processor will puree it without water, so choose depending on your ultimate use.

Place the puree in a container and place a layer of plastic wrap directly on top of the puree cover with a lid and freeze.

You can use as a replacement for canned pumpkin for Thanksgiving. Don’t be afraid! It will look a lot more orange than canned product. With spices, it’ll bake up looking normal in a pumpkin pie.

A homemade and delicious alternative!

Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

Remove pumpkin seeds from any pumpkin and place in salty water to brine; allow to soak 2 hours-overnight. Separate the seeds should from the goo.

Strain out the seeds and place in a single layer on a lined baking sheet. Season generously with salt and seasoning salt (we like Paul Prudhomme’s Meat Magic seasoning, if you haven’t tried it, go get some immediately!) If you like them spicy, you can add a little extra chili powder to the mix. If you want something sweet, add a couple tablespoons of brown sugar to the mix.

Bake at 350° for about 30 minutes or until dried out. Turn off the oven and let dry till cool. This adds something. I like it dry and crunchy.

Put in a container on the counter for the fall holidays or serve with soup, salad … everything!

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