Want to cook with pumpkin, but don’t have the energy for a pie? Have a pie pumpkin and are not quite sure how to turn it into food? (OR see one heavily discounted at the supermarket post-halloween?) I recently discovered a Pumpkin Smoothie recipe that’s easy, yummy, and eliminates baking from the equation. As always, it requires you to taste-test in the middle, and adjust to your flavor preferences. I’ve also included instructions for the easiest way to toast pumpkin seeds. Happy Halloween!
Making a Pie Pumpkin ready to use in a recipe:
Pie pumpkins have denser flesh. They’re less stringy and watery than the big pumpkins that make good jack-o-lanterns. Put one inch of water in a large covered pot and turn on high. Cut your pumpkin in half. Use a spoon and your fingers to scoop out the guts and seeds. Set the seeds aside for later. Cut each half in half again. Once the water has come to a boil, put all four quarters in (you can cut smaller if needed to fit them in). Boil with the cover on until a fork slides easily through each piece of flesh. Remove pumpkin quarters from the pot and set out to cool. Once cool, use a large spoon to scoop the flesh from the skin. That flesh can then be used in pies, quick breads, smoothies, and more!
Pumpkin Smoothie Recipe: (serves 6)
-3 cups cooked pumpkin or squash (freeze pieces before to make a slushy smoothie)
-2 cups milk (the richer the milk, the richer the smoothie…vanilla ice cream will make your smoothie more like a pumpkin milkshake)
-¼ t. pumpkin pie spice (mixture of cloves, mace, nutmeg, and ginger)
-½ t. cinnamon
-¼ c. brown sugar
–Taste, and then add brown sugar until sweetness is correct and milk until consistency is correct.
-Garnish with crumbled graham crackers to add a sweet crunch.
Roasting Pumpkin Seeds (the easy way):
-Gather the seeds removed from your pumpkin into a bowl. Pick out large pieces of guts (stringy slimy orange stuff). No need to rinse – any orange stuff is just giving you more vitamins and will dry out in the oven.
-Spread on cookie tray, and sprinkle with salt (garlic powder or other spices can be good too).
-Bake at 400 degrees, stirring every 5 minutes with a metal spatula.
-Listen for popping and/or look for your seeds to turn golden brown – they’re done! This shouldn’t take more than 20 minutes.
*Don’t have an oven, or cooking in a classroom with kids? Use a frying pan or electric skillet with 1 tablespoon of olive oil to fry the seeds until golden brown.