Homemade Pumpkin Purée (...and five clever ideas for leftovers)
'Tis the season for pumpkin purée...and it's quarter cup remnants. The latter is bound to happen to those of "us" caving in and tossing the canned version of this delicacy (organic of course) into our carts due to last minute cooking or lack of time. However, this is typically also a seasonal re-occurrence for the Martha Stewart's of the world who insist on schlepping a pumpkin on the metro just to get out the cleaver, rescue a handful of pumpkin seeds and make a sticky, stringy mess. (guilty). To each their own, but I say go big or go home. Put on your apron, bring out your inner child and start scooping! Who doesn't love fresh roasted pumpkin seeds? If anything, your apartment will smell divine.
WHAT DOES THE PUMPKIN BRING TO THE TABLE?:
- 200% of your daily intake of vitamin A, which supports your vision, especially in dim lighting.
- keeps you feeling fuller longer with its 3 grams of fiber per cup.
- just like its fellow orange veggie comrades, it boasts the antioxidant beta-carotene, which may play a role in cancer prevention.
- turns out, a cup of cooked pumpkin has more of the refueling nutrient potassium than a banana (564 milligrams:422 milligrams)
one sugar pumpkin
...feel free to spice it up with freshly ground pepper, red pepper flakes, cinnamon or nutmeg.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Slice pumpkin in half. Dig in with clean paws and scrape out all the seeds an strings. Reserve the seeds, discard pumpkin guts (see below).
Place pumpkin so that the scraped flesh side is face up. Drizzle each half with olive oil and salt and any other seasonings you decided to fancy it up with.
Roast in the oven until soft and fork tender, about 45-60 minutes (depending on the size of your pumpkin).
Remove from the oven and allow to rest until cool enough to touch. Be patient, let it cool. I know it smells heavenly, but trust me, kitchen burns are no fun. When ready, scoop out the pumpkin flesh and wah-lah! You have just made your very own pumpkin purée. Sayonara canned purée.
ROASTED PUMPKIN SEEDS
your gold mine of pumpkin seeds (about 1 cup)
freshly cracked black pepper
Rinse the seeds from any pumpkin string and guts holding on. Lay out on a tea towel and pat dry. As a New Yorker, and I'm sure you can relate, I need to be creative with my space at times, so I like to put them on a sheet tray and leave them in my oven (turned off) over night and by the next day they are completely dry.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Toss the sea of seeds with olive oil, sea salt and black pepper. Bake for 20 minutes, stirring half way through. Seeds should be golden and crunchy...and delicious!
HERE'S AN IDEA: Kick out your typical pine nut from your favorite pesto recipe and replace it with these freshly roasted seeds, you'll be happy you did! Also, feel free to get creative with the seasoning here. Try adding a little ground ginger and maple syrup to the mix to keep it interesting.
...AT LAST, THE LEFT OVERS.
**OATMEAL: add a couple tablespoons and a bit of pumpkin pie seasoning (or simply a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg) to homemade oatmeal and you can brag about eating "pumpkin pie" for breakfast.
**HUMMUS: spice up this healthy dip with a seasonal touch. Add 1/2 cup of pumpkin purée to your favorite hummus recipe and watch it disappear.
**HOT COCOA: move over pumpkin spice latte, there's a new guy in town and not only is he healthy and homemade, he'll win over the tiny tots too! In a sauce pan add 2 cups milk (homemade almond milk? even better) and whisk in 3oz dark chocolate, 2 tbsp pumpkin purée, raw sugar to taste and a dash of cinnamon and cook over low heat until steaming. Feeling adventurous? Toss in a blender for 20 seconds to froth it up!
**RISOTTO: stir in a scant cup of pumpkin purée, freshly minced sage, cinnamon and a pinch of nutmeg next time you're trying to impress your date with a killer homemade risotto. They might just stay for dessert (please refrain from pushing the envelope with pumpkin pie).
**SMOOTHIE: I know you were all secretly anticipating this one, so I simply knew I couldn't let you down. Break out the blender and mix up 2 cups spinach, 2 cups almond milk, 1 frozen banana, 1 cup pumpkin purée and a dash each of nutmeg and cinnamon. Feel free to comment below on how this just transformed you into a smoothie drinker.
What do you do when you're left with a bit more pumpkin than needed?
love + pumpkin guts,