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Buy those pumpkins while you still can!

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theHandpuppet Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 01:10 AM
Original message
Buy those pumpkins while you still can!
Many places that sell pumpkins are now trying to unload their Halloween leftovers at vastly discounted prices. This is the time to grab what's left (or those your neighbors used solely for decoration) and roast some delicious pumpkin seeds!

I remove and wash the seeds from the pumpkins, then soak them in cold water for a day or so (placing the bowl or pan in the refirgerator so they stay chilled). This helps the seeds "plump up". Then remove the seeds and drain in a colander. Let the colander sit out for a day, giving the seeds an occasional toss so they dry evenly. Then... For the seeds of two large pumpkins I use one Tbs of vegetable oil (peanut or canola also okay) and toss with the seeds, along with salt as desired. Spread the seeds on a large cookie sheet and place in a preheated 225-250 degree oven. You don't want your oven any higher or you will burn rather than slow-roast your seeds.

I usually let mine sit in the oven for about 3 hours, but that can vary depending on how "toasty" you like your seeds. The result is absolutely DELICIOUS -- fresh, nutritious hot seeds that are crunchy on the outside but plump on the inside. It's a favorite in this house and the neighbors love them, too.

If you're feeling bold you can experiment with different spices on your seeds rather than just the plain oil and salt.

Last year I was able to get a lot of leftover pumpkins FOR FREE from my farmer's market -- those that weren't pretty enough for decorations, were misshapen or might have had a bad or soft spot. Boy, was that a bargain for the seeds that were harvested. Try it!

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Lilli Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 03:22 AM
Response to Original message
1. great timing!
We were just talking about doing this the other day...thanks for the tips!
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theHandpuppet Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 06:32 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. Thanks... here's more!
BTW, those pumpkin seeds will keep in the fridge for up to a week if you have them soaking in a bowl of cold water. So you don't have to roast all of them in one night. They also keep well *after* roasting so you can snack on them for days. One thing nice about roasting your own is that the seeds you buy in the store are just totally loaded with salt. They use the salt, rather than a combination of salt and roasting, as a preservative. You can't beat warm seeds fresh from the oven.

I haven't personally tried a lot of variations in the recipe, so if you have a lot of seeds you can experiment with flavorings.

One other bargain you can get this time of year are large gourds, such as apple gourds, which can be cleaned and dried and used for great table decorations for the Thanksgiving meal. Line them with aluminum foil or even tissue paper and they can hold your holiday candies. The uses are endless.

If you're fond of fall squash like pumpkins and their kin, I have a recipe for acorn squash which my partner swears is the best of all. Cut the tops from several acorn sqaush and set them aside. Trim just a bit off the bottom of each squash, just enough so the squash will sit nicely in a shallow baking pan.

Clean the inside of each squash and coat with a generous amount of honey and butter (including the tops). Replace the tops. Place the acorn squash (however many you want --one per person!) in a shallow baking pan and add just enough water -- a shallow film, no more -- to cover the bottom of the pan so the bottom of the squash won't burn. Cover with aluminum foil, place in a preheated oven at 350-375 degrees and bake for at least one and one half hours. You can occasionally test them by removing the pan from the oven, lifting the tops from the sqaush, and seeing if the inner squash is nice and tender. Remove from oven.

Now comes the fun part -- the filling(s). Our favorite is a stuffing of curried couscous and snow peas, but the possibilities are virtually endless! We like the couscous and snow peas because it adds such variety and contrast in the texture and flavors as you eat the soft, honey-sweet squash. AB-SO-LUTELY delicious. One squash makes its own serving bowl and is an entire, nutritious meal per person. You can make a real party out of filling them to taste, which is great for kids.

One variation on the baking: rather than placing all the squash in a baking dish you can individually wrap each one in aluminum foil, eliminating the need for any water. This also keeps the inedible outside of the squash a bit firmer than if you bake them all in a single pan. Makes them just a bit easier to serve.

Enjoy!
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Lilli Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 10:23 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. That sounds wonderful!
I love squash...and havent ever stuffed any. Will give that a try. :)
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yellowdogintexas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 05:50 PM
Response to Original message
4. OK here is what you do with the pumpkins!
After you scoop out the seeds and all the gunk, wash the pumpkins,
cut into quarters and microwave in a covered container with some water until nice and tender. Scoop out the pumpkin flesh from the hard skin, and run it through the food processor until it is well pureed. Then freeze it in the quantity called for in pumpkin pie or pumpkin bread recipes. It will keep well for a long time.

You can also bake the pumpkins whole, covered pan, with water in the bottom of the pan.

I have done this with the jack o lantern from time to time, since we use a flashlight instead of candles to light our pumpkin.
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