Thursday, November 20, 2008

Of Pumpkins and Seeds

I finally cooked up the sugar pumpkins that had been hanging around the house. They came in very handy as Halloween table decorations, etc., but I was eager to turn them into puree that I can use for further pumpkin baking adventures (pumpkin pie and pumpkin soup for Thanksgiving, specifically). I did a test run of two ways of cooking pumpkin: the oven roasting method and the microwaving method, and I preferred the microwave method. But it could also have been the particular pumpkins.

Microwaving pumpkin:

1. Cut the pumpkin in pieces, place in microwave-proof bowl with 1/2 cup water. Cover and microwave for 10 minutes.

2. Cool and then scoop pumpkin meat from the peel. Puree the pumpkin in a blender.

3. If your puree seems too watery you can put it in a fine mesh strainer (lined with cheesecloth if necessary) and let some of the water drain out until it reaches the desired consistency.

4. At this point you can freeze the puree until you're ready to cook with it.

Roast Seeds
I've tried to roast pumpkin seeds in the past, but have never been too impressed with my results. This Real Simple recipe for Spiced Pumpkin Seeds looked, well, real simple, so I thought I'd give it a go. The most appealing part: no need to rinse the seeds!

cook's notes:

- This was super quick to throw together. The most time consuming thing was separating the seeds from the pulp (which wasn't bad).

- I made 3/4 recipe because I had a medium and a small sugar pumpkin.

- The seeds cooked at 275 degrees on "convect" for 40 minutes. I took the pan out and shook the seeds every 10-15 minutes.

the verdict:

These make a great snack, and were also good sprinkled atop a salad. I'll make them again! They were a "flavorful spicy" and not a "hot spicy." In fact, since I like a little heat with my spice, I might substitute cayenne pepper for a quarter of the cumin next time.


The Blonde Duck said...

I've actually never eaten pumpkin seeds, but I would eat these!

Mary Ann said...

This is one of my favorite snacks. We usually spice them up a little bit, but this year we just dried them and they tasted great. I haven't ever had them spicy though or done them in the microwave. hmm....

natalia said...

Ciao ! We call them bruscolini and they are salted not spiced ! If you use them with a salad then you have to peel them or not ? (The kugelhopf seemed a bit the babĂ  don't you think ? we should try it. Maybe in a ring (savarin) and the center filled with caramelized grapes ...sounds good for new years eve ! grape and lentils bring good luck) Why did you prefer the microwave to the oven ? it didn't dry out ?

Cathy said...

Ooooh! I bet your puree is way better than Libby's! And I've always loved spiced/sweet/salted pumpkin seeds, although I've been lazy about making them in recent years. Hey, fall's not over yet, right?