Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

What is fall without roasted pumpkin seeds?  It's like a ball game without boiled peanuts or a fair without corn dogs and funnel cakes.  So, don't forget to save your pumpkin seeds and roast them up this season.  It is super easy and nutritious.
After you remove them from your pumpkin (whether you have roasted it or not), place them in a colander.  Place the colander under warm running water and swirl them with your hand until all of the pulp is gone and only seeds remain.  
Place the pumpkin seeds on a baking sheet lined with paper towels to remove the excess water.

Remove the paper towels so you only have the seeds on the baking sheet.  Bake the seeds at 350 degrees until they are completely dry, which will take about 15-20 minutes.  Remove them from the oven for seasoning.  Pour about 1.5 Tbs. olive oil (or your favorite oil) on the pumpkin seeds along with your favorite seasoning combination.  I love cumin, kosher salt and cayenne pepper.  I have also used kosher salt, cumin and cinnamon.  If you like yours sweet use cinnamon and sugar.  After they are seasoned thoroughly mix with a spatula until they are completely covered with the oil and seasoning.  Place them back in the oven at 200 degrees for about 10 minutes.  Let them cool for a moment and enjoy.  They can also be placed in a storage container for later enjoyment, but I don't think they will last that long!

Roasted Pumpkin

I absolutely love this time of year!  The weather is changing, nature's d├ęcor is turning yellow, orange, red, brown, etc. (you know all the colors of fall) and produce like pumpkins are in season.  Who could ask for more?  I lucked out this year and found pie pumpkins for $1.69 each at Kroger so I picked up a large one to roast.  It is very easy to roast and can be used in many different recipes such as spaghetti sauce, muffins, pancakes, pies and smoothies.  Also, don't forget about the seeds as you can roast those as well for a nutritious snack. 
To roast the pie pumpkin just wash it off under hot running water and place it on a rimmed pan or baking sheet.  I use a commercial stainless steel baking sheet.  Place the pumpkin in the oven at 350 degrees for about one hour.  You will need to adjust the time based on the size of the pumpkin.  The pumpkin will swell as it cooks.  Be careful not to leave it in too long because I am sure it could explode if left in too long.  When the pumpkin is soft (not gooshy) take it out and set it on the counter to cool.  As it cools it will deflate as seen below. 
When the pumpkin is cool enough for you to touch (but not cold) peel the skin off.  This will be very easy!  Make sure to keep it on the pan as some juices will seep out as you peel.

Once it is fully peeled, lightly break it half.  Scoop the seeds into one bowl with a spoon.  Put the remaining pulp and juices in another bowl for mashing.

Mash the pumpkin pulp.  I use a potato masher because it does not take much to mash the pumpkin.  But if you prefer a blender it will work too.  There is not wrong answer here.

If you are going to freeze some of your pumpkin mash for later use place about one cup in a labeled freezer bag (or container).  Place in the freezer.  When you are ready to use take it out and defrost in the refrigerator.