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I am a recycling nut. When I was a teacher, I started a paper recycling program for the whole school. At home, we have separate bins for food waste, paper and plastics/cans. Because of my neurotic tendencies, I cringe when Halloween is over and there is a perfectly good pumpkin drooping on my front porch. Even though canned pumpkin is so affordable and convenient, would it be possible to recycle the pumpkin that I already have?
Here is the scoop (forgive the pun!):
There are special “Pie Pumpkins”, which are smaller, sweeter and smoother in texture than the one you purchased or harvested this Halloween. They are about 8-inches in diameter and are typically available from September through the early part of December. If you wish to purchase one of these specifically for cooking, look for one that is bright orange in color, firm and has no bruises or soft spots.
However, if you are eager to recycle your Halloween pumpkins and make them a part of your culinary festivities, you can easily do so! You may simply need to add some additional brown sugar or maple syrup to your recipe to compensate for its lack of sweetness.
How To Make Your Own Pumpkin Puree:
- Cut out top of your pumpkin and clean out all seeds and strings from inside.
- Slice pumpkin vertically into 3 inch wide strips.
- Place strips onto a baking sheet.
- Bake in preheated oven for about 1 hour.
- Once done, scrape the pumpkin from the skins, then beat with a mixer or puree in a food processor until smooth.
Save The Seeds:
- The seeds can be used either to plant pumpkins next year, or roasted to eat this year!
- Place them in a bowl of water and rub them between your hands. Pick out the orange pieces that are floating, and discard them.
- Drain the water.
- Spread the seeds on a dish towel or paper towel to dry…and voila! They are ready for next year’s planting or to roast.
Give It A Try:
Chocolate Chunk Pumpkin Bread
2 cups flour
2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 cup mashed cooked fresh pumpkin
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup oil
6 (1 ounce) squares BAKER’S Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate, coarsely chopped
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices until well blended; set aside.
- Beat eggs, pumpkin, sugars, milk and oil in large bowl with wire whisk until well blended.
- Add dry ingredients; stir just until moistened.
- Stir in chopped chocolate.
- Pour into greased 9×5-inch loaf pan.
- Bake 55 minutes to 1 hour or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
- Cool 10 minutes. Remove from pan; cool completely on wire rack. Cut into slices to serve.
CALL THE KIDS:
- Measure cinnamon and nutmeg
- Crack eggs (in a separate bowl, so it is easier to fish out stray egg shells)
- Measure sugar, brown sugar, milk and oil
- Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices
- With adult supervision, use a hand mixer to blend eggs, pumpkin, sugars milk and oil
- Fold wet and dry ingredients together until combined
Nutrition (per serving): 253.6 calories; 28% calories from fat; 8.6g total fat; 35.5mg cholesterol; 239.9mg sodium; 141.7mg potassium; 41.8g carbohydrates; 0.8g fiber; 20.8g sugar; 41.0g net carbs; 4.4g protein.