Friday, October 18, 2013

Pumpkins Aplenty

I just finished my series on Apples and various recipes using them.  Now I will start on a short Pumpkin series.  Many people forget about pumpkins outside of carving fun faces into them for display on the front porch.  Even those large pumpkins used for carving can add a little to your pantry.  This first installment in my Pumpkins Aplenty series will be a handful of ideas on how to spice up those seeds scooped out of that great jack-o-lantern shell.  I will follow up with the best way I have found to make pumpkin puree, and then a few great ways to use that yummy ingredient.  Enjoy!!

Pumpkin Seeds:

After you scoop all the *guts* out of your jack-o-lantern shell you will have a gooey, orange pile of string and seeds.  With a little patience, that pile can turn into a yummy snack for the whole family!  Separate the seeds from the string and place them in a colander.  Be sure to rinse them extremely well to get the seeds as clean as you can. 

I have found that for the crunchiest seeds without burning, it is best to boil the seeds for 10 minutes in water with a teaspoon of salt.  Drain the seeds and let them dry.  (You can pat the seeds dry with a paper towel but they will stick so make sure you brush them off the paper towel so as not to accidently throw any seeds in the garbage)

Spread your seeds, in a thin layer, on a baking sheet.  Make sure none are overlapping.

Drizzle with olive oil.

Sprinkle with sea salt (For basic roasted pumpkin seeds.  If you are seasoning them with other spices, you will do that here)

Bake at 325 for 10 minutes.  Stir, and bake for another 10 minutes.  (Be sure to keep an eye on your seeds because they can burn very easily)

As much as I love a basic roasted pumpkin seed, sometimes it’s fun to add other flavors.  Here are a few of my favorites… 

(Sprinkle spices on after Olive Oil and befor roasting)  Measurements are for one cookie sheet of pumpkin seeds. 

~ 1tsp Cinnamon,  ¼ tsp Nutmeg, 2tbs Maple Syrup.  These seeds end up with a fantastic Autumn flavor!

~ ½cup Sugar, ½ tsp Cayenne Pepper, ½ tsp Sea Salt.  This is a great Sweet and Spicy treat.

~ 2tsp Curry Powder, ½ tsp Sea Salt.  If you like spicy snacks, this is the treat for you.

~ ½ tsp Chili Powder, ½ tsp Ground Cumin, ¼ tsp Cayenne Pepper.  After roasting, drizzle with the juice of half a lime.  The lime adds great flavor and cuts a bit of the heat from all those spices.

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