Pumpkin season is upon us here in the USA. Where I am staying the family has grown and harvested numerous pumpkins.
The weather conditions are not the best for gardening – it is dry, very hot during the day and very cold at night. Nonetheless, the garden here is a success. We have been enjoying many courgettes, broccoli, onions, tomatoes, rhubarb, carrots, garlic, herbs, kale and lettuce.
Using the pumpkin flesh:
Currently, there is a vast amount of pumpkins to deal with. A popular dish, is pumpkin pie so I have been helping Jessie bake her annual pumpkin pies. It is most fun. The recipe is as follows (from the Joy of cooking recipe book – many American’s bible):
For the crust:
- 2 1/2 cups chilled all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
- About 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons ice water
- 3 eggs
- 2 cups cooked squash or pumpkin purée
- 1 1/2 cups coconut milk or cream, heavy cream, or evaporated milk
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- (1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger)
- 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- (1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves or allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Once the crust dough is made (by mixing all of the ingredients together), roll it out into a circle and place it in a dish suitable to go in the oven (no need to grease it). Pinch the top to make a nice crust edge. Then pour the pumpkin filling in it and bake for 45 minutes. It is as easy as that. If you have any spare dough you can make it into shapes and place it on top.
It is normally served cold with whipped cream. I have never had pumpkin pie before and I have to say it was delicious.
Using the Pumpkin seeds:
Another way to utilise pumpkins is to bake their seeds. Pumpkin seeds are super healthy. They are full of nutrition, comprising; iron, magnesium, zinc, potassium, and tryptophan (shown to aid a good nights sleep and even improve your mood). Not only this but they are easy to make and taste great – a perfect snack or appetiser.
Place the seeds on a baking tray and drizzle a little olive oil over (or melted butter). Toss them in salt and any other herbs you fancy. You could try garlic powder or cajun seasoning. Leave them in the oven for 45 minutes stirring now and then, until golden.
Using the pumpkin shell:
Last but not least, we cannot let the shell go to waste, especially when Halloween is around the corner and our carving skills need to be practiced for those fun competitions.
We used a stencil for a more intricate design. This was a paper design that you wet and stuck onto the pumpkin. Then placed cling film over the paper and started carving. This was a bought kit of designs but you could easily print some off the internet and use them instead.
So in a nutshell – that is how not to waste any part of a pumpkin this fall. Happy pumpkin season to you all.