Yesterday, I shared with you some “adventures” in squash. For being an “adventure,” it was awfully dull. If your main bone to pick is that it went too well, do I have the post for you! A better title? “How Not To Prep Pumpkin.” Sigh.
Anywhere, here’s my pumpkin. Isn’t it a beaut? I tried to get the heaviest one they had, since it was priced by unit, and not by pound. It was something like $2.58 for 3.25lbs, so I’d say I did pretty well! My goal with produce is almost always <$0.99/pound. No complaints here. And. . . Look at it – it’s just gorgeous! It looks ready to be stabbed with all kinds of novelty knives for Halloween. . . but don’t. Meaty pumpkins are for baking. Hollow pumpkins are for cutting.
Remember how I said not to use a dull bread knife? Yeah. . . Uh. . . Just don’t. Buy a new knife if it’s the best you got. Your neighbor/kitchen-mate won’t be around every time you need to cut autumn squash.
See the four lines? Where I gave myself leverage before finally slicing through? Yeah. BUY A GOOD KNIFE.
Eventually, I sliced it in half. Somehow.
And I gutted it. . .
I then quartered it and put it on a cookie sheet. I forgot to take a picture, so enjoy the darkness of my old-school oven.
I then had fun with the guts. . .
Which were twice as easy as the guts of the spaghetti squash. It took me twenty minutes to clean the spaghetti squash, and a mere ten with the pumpkin. For more seeds, at that.
When I threw the two together, all was confirmed: they’re basically the same damn thing. Can you notice any difference?
Me neither. After 45 minutes and plenty of aroma, I knew the pumpkin was done.
Meanwhile, I simmered the seeds in salt water for ten minutes.
And noticed I might have over-cooked the pumpkin. Or maybe I need a cleaner baking sheet? This used to be the color of steel, by the way. And as far as I know, stainless steel doesn’t “season. . .”
Anyway, the seeds got drained and thrown on the oiled pan. . .
. . . While I peeled the pumpkin. Note: wait for it to cool down a bit, or the skin WILL break on you. And it will be a pain in your ass.
The pumpkin seeds were done roasting before I was done peeling. And they were GOOD! Screw the bags of factory pumpkin seeds, okay. This is where it’s at. Hot, toasty seeds fresh from the oven. Perfectly salted. Yum.
If it weren’t for the pumpkin seeds being ready, showing this whole ordeal worthwhile, I might have given up at this point.
Instead, I decided to do things my favorite way: the old fashioned way. With a potato masher from the Dollar Tree. Yeah, um, don’t do that either. After about an hour of smashing, I was left with. . .
Stringy orange goop! As you can see, I gave up and processed it. Now I know: process this. Pilgrims apparently had magic to get their pumpkin silky smooth. In the 21st century, we have the food processor.
Not being one to waste, I decided to “clean” the processor of stuck pumpkin by throwing in some mylk, soy creamy ice cream, and pumpkin pie spice. How better to enjoy autumn produce in the warm weather?
I see no better way.
The take-away? It was an experience, to be sure. And now I know all the ways to not mess it up in the future. The pumpkin tasted great when I dipped my finger in it plain, which is more than I can say of the canned stuff. I froze an ice cube tray’s worth of it for later use, in case I can’t find a suitable pumpkin around Thanksgiving. The stuff in the jar, however. . . I’m trying to decide. Again, to fuse summer with fall, I’m thinking cheesecake. Cheesecake seems like it would highlight the pumpkin better than a quick bread or cookie, where I’d feel satisfied using Libby’s. It’s that or homemade pumpkin butter. Stay tuned!