Pumpkin Processing

ASimpleHomestead.com - pumpkin seeds

Remember when I talked about Olivia the pumpkin?

ASimpleHomestead.com - pumpkin painting

Shortly after Halloween, Olivia “disappeared”. We weren’t going to draw attention to her absence in case that would cause a disturbance. Then again, we didn’t exactly hide the fact that we were chopping up a pumpkin. She was so big, we could only cook half of the pumpkin at one time in our oven – two 1/4 pieces on a baking sheet.

ASimpleHomestead.com - Olivia the pumpkin

We didn’t bother covering it, it just went into the oven at 350°F for an hour or until tender. Because we wanted a smooth consistency in our pumpkin, after it was cooked and cooled slightly, we poured batches of it into our food processor to puree it. An upright blender or immersion blender would work too.

ASimpleHomestead.com - pumpkin puree

Then we measured out 2 cups of puree into freezer bags since cans of pumpkin puree are usually 15-16 ounces and most recipes are geared towards that amount.
So just how big was Olivia?

ASimpleHomestead.com - pumpkin puree

We ended up with 40 cups of pumpkin – enough for 20 pumpkin pies! That’s a lot of pumpkin for a family that typically only buys 2-3 cans of pumpkin a year. Time to find some great pumpkin recipes… one of which I’ll share soon.

Truthfully, my favorite part of the pumpkin this year was all the wonderful seeds. I don’t remember being a big fan of roasted pumpkin seeds growing up, but I sure loved them this year. It was a fight to see who would get the last of the seeds since they disappeared so quickly in three tummies. I read a tip that said the best way to separate the seeds from the innards is to put them in a large bowl and add water. Begin stirring and separating with your hands. The heavier fibers will sink to the bottom and light seeds will float.

ASimpleHomestead.com - pumpkin seeds

Another tip? Think about using WARM water when doing this. You’d think it would be obvious, but apparently not to some – like me. Sheesh!

ASimpleHomestead.com - pumpkin seeds

After the seeds were completely cleaned, they were tossed with a little bit of olive oil and sprinkled with salt. We roasted the seeds on a baking sheet at 250°F for about 30 minutes. They were delicious but a little messy with the salt falling off. Papa suggested next time perhaps we should try a different technique – to boil for a few minutes in salt water instead. Maybe next year.

I know there is supposed to be a difference between “pie pumpkins” and “jack-o-lanterns”, but frankly I haven’t noticed a difference in our baking; this one actually tastes better because it was home-roasted.

Since we have an abundance of pumpkin in our freezer, does anyone have some favorite pumpkin recipes they’d like to share?

3 Replies to “Pumpkin Processing”

  1. That’s a LOT of pumpkin! I have a couple of large winter squash that I plan to cook soon, but I haven’t decided how…they are kind of intimidating. Maybe I’ll take your approach. And about the seeds…do you eat the shell? or just the kernel inside? I’ve always wondered.

    1. For these I eat both the seed and the shell, mainly because of the time it would take to shell the seeds! I love pepitas (pumpkin seeds) – I just wish we’d gotten more of them from our large pumpkin 🙂

      1. Thanks – perfect timing! I’ve just begun cooking the winter squash saved from my garden. Lots of big seeds 🙂

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