Pumpkin Puree and Toasted Seeds – Finely Ground

I’m Marissa, and I’m the frugal foodie and thrifty dabbler behind FinelyGround.net. Thanks so much, Mandy, for the opportunity to guest post!

It’s about the time of year when I start looking at the pumpkins laying around my apartment and thinking . . . PIE!

Or, you know, muffins, or bread, or cake, or lattes, or whatever. I’m all for home decor that you can eat once it’s run its course.

For this project, you should be able to use just about any pumpkin or squash that you have on hand. The only exceptions I would make are if the skin has been punctured (possible risk of bacteria) or if you’ve decorated it with something flammable like paint or glitter.

1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Wash your pumpkin, knock off the stem, and cut it in half. Don’t skip the wash–it may not seem important since you’re not eating the skin . . . but that’s what the people who got listeria poisoning from their cantaloupe thought, too! If your pumpkin’s wobbly, cut a little disc off the bottom to make it more stable. A serrated knife that you can saw with will work the best.

2. Scoop out the seeds and strings. Hands work best to sift out the seeds, and a metal spoon works best to scrape out the strings. Rinse the seeds really well, and spread on a cookie sheet to dry overnight. You can speed the process along by sticking them in the oven with the pumpkin for 3-5 minutes.

3. Brush the cut edges of the pumpkin with oil and set cut-side down on another cookie sheet. Bake for 45 minutes or until it pierces easily with a fork. 45 minutes should be adequate for most squashes and small pie pumpkins, but a big, tough, stringy one can take an hour and a half. Once it’s done, you should be able to easily peel off the skin and mash up the innards. For most uses I leave it stringy, but if you’re going to make pumpkin pie you may want to blend it till smooth.

4. After the seeds are thoroughly dried, toss them in a small bowl with a tablespoon of oil or melted butter. I seasoned mine with kosher salt, but you can be creative. Chili powder? Rosemary and black pepper? Cinnamon and cloves? Or instead of tossing them in butter, you could do half oil, half maple syrup, and sprinkle them with brown sugar!

5. Spread onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and toast at 300 degrees for 18-22 minutes or till golden. Stir around the ten minute point. Watch them carefully. Once they start to brown, they brown fast!

6. Use your pumpkin within a week or freeze it. Don’t worry about the toasted seeds; I’m sure they won’t last long enough to go bad! Storing them in an air-tight container once thoroughly cooled will help keep them crisp.

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