One of the first signs of fall is the appearance of beautiful orange globes at the farmers markets and grocery stores — pumpkins. And not just the giant carving pumpkins you put on your doorstep but also sugar pumpkins!
We all have recipes that use pumpkin in its canned form, but have you ever tried roasting your own pumpkin? It's so easy you will wonder why you never have before! Fresh pumpkin adds more flavor (and nutrition) to your pies, muffins, and quick breads. It also makes a great baby food.
|Roasting a Sugar Pumpkin|
1.) Preheat your oven to 425℉.
2.) Rinse the sugar pumpkin under running water.
3.) Cut the sugar pumpkin in half using a large, sharp knife. DO NOT try to cut through the stem. That's hard. Make your job easier and turn the pumpkin on its side, cutting across the middle. Or, as I tell my kids, "across the equator."
4.) Scoop out the seeds and fibers from the center cavity into a bowl. Set these aside for toasting later.
5.) Place the pumpkin halves cut-side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (this makes clean-up a breeze).
6.) Transfer your pumpkin to the center rack of your oven and bake for one hour.
7.) Remove from oven and let cool until you can handle it safely and comfortably.
8.) Scoop out the pumpkin, or peel away the skin. It should peel right off.
Your pumpkin is now ready to use in any of your favorite pumpkin recipes! Replace the same amount of canned pumpkin for this yummy, freshly roasted pumpkin. Puree your pumpkin with an immersion blender for a smoother consistency in pumpkin pie or baby food.
Your pumpkin will keep in the refrigerator for several days in a tightly sealed container. One sugar pumpkin yields 3-4 cups of pumpkin, enough for a pie and a double batch of muffins!
|Toasting Pumpkin Seeds|
1.) Add water to the bowl containing your scooped-out seeds. The seeds will float to the top, and the bits of pumpkin fibers sink to the bottom. This makes it easier to separate them! Many of the seeds will be attached to the pumpkin fibers. Rub the fibers off the seeds with your fingers.
2.) Once separated, use a slotted spoon to transfer the seeds to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Just scoop the seeds off the surface of the water; don't dig into all those bits you just removed unless you really want to.
3.) Dry those seeds as best you can, blotting them with a paper towel.
4.) Season the seeds with your favorite pumpkin spices. You can use a pre-made pumpkin pie mix or try your own. I like cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves. If you prefer savory, generously sprinkle with garlic salt.
5.) Place the seeds on the center rack in the oven, and bake for 20-30 minutes. The time will vary depending on how wet they are. You can stir them up halfway through if you like.
6.) When they are golden and dry, take them out and let them cool. ENJOY!