Monday, November 5, 2012

Orange alert

 Carefully slice the pumpkin in half from top to bottom with a sharp knife.

It is time to get those pumpkins into the freezer for winter cooking projects!  Although any pumpkin is usable as food, I far prefer the small "sugar" pumpkins for this purpose.  You can do the same with large squashes, such as hubbard.  I get the leftover pumpkins from a nearby farm for my pigs and goats on November 1 when the farmstand closes for two or three weeks to prepare for the next major holiday decorating season.  Although this year they will be selling the rest of the sugar pumpkins, I took the ones that were developing "spots" and wouldn't make it until they reopened the farm store.

Scrub the dirt off the outside of your pumpkin before cutting it in half.

Grease a pan generously with lard, tallow, duck or goose fat, bacon drippings, or butter.  Scoop out the seeds with your fingers, removing the biggest chunks of orange pulp, but don't wash them.  The little bits of pulp add a nice flavor.  Roast the seeds at 375 F, stirring every few minutes, until they start to brown.  Use plenty of your chosen fat, enough to coat the seeds.  This will help the salt to cling to them.  Enjoy while hot!

Use the edge of a spoon to scrape the "guts" out.

Roast at 325 F for about an hour and a half.  Use caution taking the pan out of the oven, as the pumpkins will have released some water and it will be very hot.

When it cools enough to handle, slice it into thin wedges, and peel the skin off with your paring knife.

Put the pared pumpkin into a bowl and store it in your fridge for processing later if you don't have time to do so right away.  I actually prefer to do this, as more water will be released from the slices and can be poured off, making a much thicker puree.

Puree the slices a few at a time in the food processor, or by hand with a food mill or as our great-great-great grandmothers would, press it through a sieve.  I love my food processor!

Bag it in amounts suitable for recipes.  I do 1.5 cups (pie sized) and 1 cup (soups and stews) bags.  I put the smaller bags into a gallon ziploc freezer bag.

I mostly use this puree in soups and stews.  A small amount of roasted pumpkin or squash puree will disappear into a chicken soup, for example, but will add such a wonderful flavor that even seasoned cooks that you might serve it to won't be able to guess its source.  It is also a great way to sneak one more vegetable into your families' meals, and for many, it is a free source of veggies.  

Most people who decorate their yards or doorsteps with pumpkins simply toss them in the trash later.  Let people know that you'd like their pumpkins....there is no shame in not wasting perfectly good food! 


  1. Just found your blog. Glad I did. Great tutorial on pumpkin use. Neve thought about sliding the puree into soup. Gret idea!

  2. Glad you found us, Donna! Pumpkin is a mostly ignored vegetable in the USA. It is mostly used in sweets, but those of us who don't eat many sweet things can still enjoy this great squash!

  3. This is awesome! Thank you for sharing :) I have always wondered what one could do with pumpkins, because I want to grow them, but use them for more than decorations!

  4. Yes, it is my secret ingredient!