by Mireille Bourgeois
I have to deeply apologize for these terrible photos! I’m in real need of an SLR camera. My point and shoot isn’t cutting it at all, and since I mostly cook in the evenings, or photograph my food in the evening… well, there you have it. The photos will improve I promise!
My Boyfriend’s parents were visiting us a couple of weekends ago, and I was thrilled to be hosting. Lots of food preparation and general hosting prep was undertaken. I had never cooked for four people for three days before and I was up for the challenge. In the midst of making soups, breads, and prepping meal for the weekend. Once they left, Halloween came and went. I dressed up and gave some dressed up kids some candies that are bad for them and our pumpkin never got carved! I was a bit too tired and gave the job to my BF. Well, needless to say, we had a beautiful, medium sized pumpkin left over. I didn’t want it to go to waste, and even though it got a bit eaten by slugs, the skin was so thick that they didn’t get to the meat of it.
I took it in and started the carving process. Personally, I found it easier and quicker to carve off the skin while holding the stem and going slowly. When the skin was carved off, I placed the pumpkin in the sink to start the meat carving. I cut large squares from it, cut off the innards and any left over skin, cut it up into smaller pieces for boiling. I’m not sure this was necessary, but I let them sit in bowls of water because I was scared they’d turn brown.
I was completely happy but surprised to see that the medium size pumpkin yielded about 5 large freezer bags of pumpkin. My one rule is to try my best to utilize every bit of an ingredient I’m using. Whether I’m making chicken and then using the bones to make stock, or roasting peppers and using the skins to dry into pepper powder, one can always try their best to be economical. So let’s get to the recipes I found to make use of all this pumpkin! Let’s also see how many times I can write the words pumpkin in this blog post. 😉
This is a favorite of mine. Pumpkin Soda Bread.
1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup + 1TBS pastry flour (I’ve used all purpose and it works well too)
1 1/2 TSP baking soda
3/4 TSP salt
1cup +1TBS of pumpkin meat
Preheat oven to 475F. Boil chunks of pumpkin until soft and knife slides right through. Strain pumpkin, transfer to mixing bowl and mash pumpkin with potato masher.
Scoop pumpkin meat into a couple of layers of cheesecloth (a thin tea towel will also work) and twist out water until o steady stream comes out. Set pumpkin meat aside. Mix dry ingredients together in a medium sized mixing bowl. Add pumpkin meat and stir only until incorporated. Use hand to knead only about 5 to 10 times until dough is just incorporated but dough sticks together in a round shape. Dough will be dry.
Scoop out onto a baking sheet (I have a silicone baking sheet but you can also use parchment paper or grease lightly a baking sheet). Gently shape into a round shape and then slide a sharp knife across the top of the bread making an X into the bread.
Slice gently halfway down into the bread. Bake at 475F for 15 minutes, then decrease temperature to 450F, bake for another 15minutes until brown and bread sounds hollow when tapping on top and bottom of bread. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool before slicing.
Spiced Pumpkin Seeds
2 cups of pumpkin seeds
2TBS coconut oil
1TSP sea salt
1/2 TSP paprika
1/4 TSP chili powder
1/4 TSP ginger
Bring 4 cups of water to a boil (or enough to cover seeds). Place seeds in boiling water for 10 minutes. Strain seeds, spread out and let dry on tea-towel. Preheat oven to 300F. Mix all ingredients except for seeds in a small dish. Either melt all ingredients in small saucepan on stove, or put in microwave to do the same. If seeds are dry enough for them to be coated by the oil mixture, pour mixture onto seeds and mix until evenly coated. Spread on large baking sheet making sure not too many are overlapping.
Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until golden brown. I’ve never had a need to stir them up will baking. Boiling the seeds before baking them ensures they will be crispy. I’ve try this method recently for the first time and I’m never going back! The seeds melt in your mouth!
Pumpkin Butter Preserve
This recipe comes from my grandmother’s Bernardin book. It’s was incredibly touching to read her notes in her handwriting while baking… Makes about 10-12 small mason jars.
4 cups of pumpkin meat
2 cups of brown sugar
1/2 TSP nutmeg
1/4 TSP salt
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup orange juice
Prepare pumpkin meat using the above cheesecloth method. Prepare and sterilize mason jars using your preferred method. I boil the jars, lids and rim after washing them with soapy water. Place pumpkin meat plus all other ingredients in a food processor and pulse until smooth. Transfer to heavy bottom pot. Bring to boil, then bring down to a low simmer for 20 minutes until the mixture thickens. (I had to leave mine on a very low simmer and half-cover it with a lid because the thick mixture kept spitting). Make sure you stir very often to prevent sticking to bottom or burning. Transfer pumpkin butter to jars up to 1/4 inch from the top. Wipe rim with damp paper towel to remove butter from rim (if necessary), place lid and rim on jar and hot water bath for 10 minutes. (water must cover least one inches above jars). Please see Bernardin website for any Canning details and information. (downloadable guide here) . Let jars cool and transfer to cold room.
Well, there you have it! After these three recipes, I STILL made a Pumpkin Lentil Soup with some parts of the pumpkin, had two large freezer bags, and one container of pumpkin meat left (I’ll be making Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies with those! Watch for the cookies and lentil pumpkin soup recipes soon.)