Sunday, November 14, 2010

Cooked Pumpkin

I've come to the conclusion that there is no good reason to buy a pie pumpkin (or sugar pumpkin) and cook it yourself so that you can collect the cooked pumpkin for another use such as pie or bread.

I was lured into giving it a try because the smaller pie pumpkins were on sale for $1.50 each.  I Googled and found three ways to cook them; bake, boil or microwave.  I didn't feel like baking them for over an hour and using so much engery for such a small item,  boiling always makes me think about the vitamins leaching out into the boiling water so I opted to microwave.  Each pumpkin weighed 2 3/4 lb so I microwaved them for 7 minutes per pound.  After cooling I scraped off the cooked pumpkin; it was largely stringly, although I had thoroughly scraped out the seeds and guts pre-cooking.  The first pumpkin yielded roughly 1 1/2 cup of cooked pumpkin, the second a bit more.

I checked the label on a 15 oz can of Libby's canned, pureed pumpkin from my pantry; it yields 3 1/2 half-cup servings which is about the same amount that my first pumpkin produced.  The sodium was the other concern I had; the canned option contained 5 mg per serving, really nothing.  The cost for the canned pumpkin was $1.69 not even 25 cents more than my whole pumpkin cost.

So, other than the seeds I saved for roasting I'm pretty disappointed at how labor intensive this experiment was.  Unless I somehow end up growing my own pie pumpkins in the future I won't be doing this again.

I did just taste the toasted pumpkin seeds and they were delicious!  Here is my recipe:

Remove any stringly bits of pumpkin from seeds and rinse thoroughly.  Please the seeds in a small saucepan; add water to cover seeds.  Add 1 T sea salt to water and stir.  Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.  The seeds will look gray when they are done.  Pour cooked seeds into a strainer and rinse.  Drain thoroughly.

Preheat oven to 325.  Place drained seeds on a jelly roll pan.  Drizzle 1 T of olive oil over the seed; distribute the oil throughout the seeds with your hand and flatten the seeds into one layer.  Sprinkle 1 t of sea salt on the seeds and place pan in the oven.

Bake for 45 or longer, until browned.  Watch closely at the end of baking time to avoid burning the seeds.

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