We went pumpkin crazy as the days before Halloween dwindled. Unable to find a good carver for a spooky Jack-O-Lantern, we snatched up three sugar pumpkins from the Farmers Market and two medium-sized green, warty ones from the bodega.
Alas, look who appeared at the Halloween Day Farmers Market in a clearing between the dogs and children parading around in their costumes…the final member of our pumpkin plethora.
We didn’t eat the carver’s meat because we melted a multi-ingredient wax candle in it, and the fumes that get baked into the walls render the pumpkin questionably edible. But we ate the pepitas! Roasting the seeds from a pumpkin (of any size) is really easy.
Here’s what you do:
1. Scoop out the seeds into a colander.
2. Remove the stringy and pulpy chunks; there should be no more orange in the pile.
3. Spread out the seeds on a cookie tray or a pan large enough to so that no seeds are on top of others.
4. Leave the pan in your cool oven to dry overnight. If you’re in a rush, warm the oven (200 degrees) and stick the tray in for a few minutes until they’re dry and then follow directions below.
5. Grease a cookie tray with a little olive oil (or any preferred oil) and drop the seeds back on the tray.
6. Sprinkle some sea salt (and other ground spices/flavorings if desired) and bake for 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees.
7. Eat your healthy homemade snack between meals or make a pipian sauce from them if you’re feeling fancy.
Pumpkins make great wintertime fare since they last a long time in cool, drafty rooms, or atop pantry shelves. You don’t have to build your own root cellar outside or in the basement to enjoy extended periods with your veggies, just keep them away from the heat.
There are three different ways to puree a pumpkin for baking pies and breads or making soups. I’m not going to detail the process because this site gives an excellent how-to for all three. This blog also has a good sugar pumpkin puree recipe, the baking method shown in detail. The merits of roasting/baking your pumpkin are the retained flavors that will enhance soups or other recipes where the pumpkin is prominent. I find the boiling method equally effective yet much faster; it’s a good method for pies and other recipes where you’re going to mix the pumpkin with other strong flavors.