Last week, we welcomed The Great Pumpkin. Unlike Linus, we weren’t waiting for him to bring us gifts at Halloween. We planned to skin him, scoop his guts out, and eat him.
Our local Foodland had Kent pumpkins on sale for 49 cents a kilo, which is the cheapest I have seen this year, so I stopped by and grabbed one. They were larger than I had anticipated, and I bought the smallest, which was a massive 4.7 kilos for the low, low, price of $2.31.
But what to do with such a huge pumpkin? 4.7 kg is a lotta punkin soup!
The first thing I did was to cut The Great Pumpkin in half, and scoop his guts out:
Half went straight into the oven to roast, at about 180 degrees. Don’t peel it, just chuck it in and roast it until you can poke a fork in it. If you still want the pumpkin to have the sweetness of roasting, but to have a firmer texture, then roast until the fork sticks in but meets resistance. If you want it nice and soft for a soup, the fork should slide in easily.
But before you do that, make sure you remove the seeds, and rinse them well to remove most of the pumpkin guts that clings to them. Let them drain a bit (don’t worry about it too much), and then place them on a tray lined with baking paper:
Then, while you are roasting the pumpkin, you can also roast the seeds. I drizzle a little olive oil (about a teaspoon) over them before I put them in the oven, and roast for about fifteen minutes, or until they look like this:
Now normally when they reach this stage, I have just enough time to warn the family that they will burn themselves, and throw a shake of sea salt over them, before they vanish. This time however, I suggested we toss them with popcorn and eat them while watching The Empire Strikes Back. Because nerds. There was hearty assent, and they managed to last about an hour. Roasting pumpkin seeds is a way to turn something that would ordinarily go into the compost into a free and healthy snack, and these are a great favourite with my family.
But what to do with the rest of The Great Pumpkin? I still had half the pumpkin, or roughly 2.5 kg of this thing left to use up, and I had no room in the fridge. I peeled and cut it into chunks, leaving about an eighth of it to go into the crisper for another day. The chunks were placed into the steamer and steamed until I could mush it with a spoon, like so:
I then bagged it up into 1/2 cup lots for the freezer. I will use this for myriad recipes, including muffins, pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie, and one of my all time favourite Budget Bytes recipes, Pumpkin Pie Baked Oatmeal. By freezing it into clearly labelled metric measures, I quickly know how much I will need to thaw for a given recipe.
Finally, when the roasted pumpkin came out of the oven, I used it to make a roasted pumpkin spiced dip for a BBQ the next day, and a roast pumpkin and cumin soup. I’ll post recipes for those tomorrow.
And that, my friends, is how you knock off The Great Pumpkin. Piece by piece.