Friday, November 15, 2013

Ingredient 34 - Pumpkin

Hey everyone, sorry it has taken me so long to get another post up.  I have been super busy with work related training and the everyday business of life.  In honor of Halloween, my favorite holiday, I roasted pumpkin seeds.  When I bake with pumpkin, I always just buy canned so it seemed like it was time to do something different. 

In case you didn't know, pumpkins are members of the squash family, Cucurbita pepo.  In the US and UK, the term pumpkin refers to winter squash with smooth or slightly ribbed deep orange skin.  However, in other parts of the world, Australia, pumpkin is a term for any winter squash.  Pumpkins are grown on every continent, except Antarctica.  In the United Sates, Illinois grows roughly 90% of pumpkins used in food production.  Talk about a pumpkin powerhouse!!!

About a week before Halloween Dave and I went to a local nursery and picked up some pumpkins for carving.  Not surprisingly, our pumpkins were selected for their aesthetic qualities.

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Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
1 or 2 Pumpkins
1 Tablespoon olive oil  
1 Teaspoon Chili powder
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon

Begin by cutting open the top of the pumpkin and scooping out the stringy innards and seeds.  Place the innards and seeds in a bowl and start picking out the seeds.  It took me roughly 20 minutes to pick through the innards of two pumpkins.

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Once you have all the seeds collected, rinse off the seeds and place them in a pot of boiling salted water for 10 minutes.  Why the boiling water?  According to Food52 and Angela Liddon of Oh She Glows, pumpkin seeds don't cook evenly when you try to just roast them, the inside cooks much faster than the outside.  Boiling ensure more even roasting.

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Once the seeds have boiled for 10 minutes, drain them and dry off excess water with a paper towel.  Once dry, toss the seeds in the olive oil and sprinkle on the chili powder, cinnamon, and salt.  Place the coated seeds on a baking sheet and place in a 325 degree oven for 30 minutes, turning once.  When cool, store in an air-tight container.

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Food52 said the seeds would take 10 to 12 minutes in the oven, mine didn’t seem toasty until I had roasted them for 30 minutes.  I am not sure why my seeds took way more time.  I suspect I was roasting way more seeds than the authors.

Regardless of this discrepancy, I enjoyed the roasting pumpkin seeds.  It was nice to get something edible out of Halloween pumpkins.  The seeds make a great afternoon snack on their own or mixed with nuts and dried fruit. 

BTW -  Check out the pumpkins Dave carved!!

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