Operation Pumpkin

by Alexandra

Autumn has graced us with a multitude of pumpkins.

I cannot complain, though, for I am madly in love with anything and everything that has to do with fall!

Thus, I have made it my personal challenge to use every last bit of one of these garden gems. Operation Pumpkin.

Step One: Wash and dry a medium-sized pumpkin.

Step two: Knife, Camera, Action!

Step four: Split pumpkin right down the middle!

Step five: Using a paring knife, trim the foamy edges, and scoop the pulp and seeds into a container. Reserve.

Step six: Remove stringy material. Discard this. I have deemed it “not worthy of being eaten.” The texture is somewhat repulsive.

Step seven: Trim off stalk.

Step eight: Cut into large chunks and arrange on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake in a 275-degree oven for 3-3.5 hours.

Meanwhile, remove seeds from pulp. (Discard pulp) and rinse under hot running water for at least 2 minutes.

Spread wet seeds on a cookie sheet lined with paper towels and allow to dry over night. Store in the refrigerator and enjoy them as a fresh, raw snack. Or, toss lightly with olive oil, sea salt and minced garlic and roast for 20-20 minutes in a 275-degree oven until golden.

Step nine: Remove pumpkin from oven. It will look wrinkled and dry, but I assure you, it is not! Using a knife, tear the skin off (and any parts that are too dry) while still hot.

Step ten: Cut into chunks and transfer to a large saucepan. Mash with a potato masher and begin to simmer over medium low heat for 60 minutes until very thick.

Step eleven: While the pumpkin cooks, use an immersion blender to puree the pulp until it reaches a very smooth consistency.

Step twelve: Devour, freeze, or use in any recipe that calls for canned pumpkin/pumpkin puree.