Nothing beats the flavor of a pie pumpkin, with its sweet taste and smooth texture. It provides the most vitamin A of all the common fruits and vegetables, and is also high in iron, potassium, and phosphorus. Save the seeds–they are an excellent snack, offer additional nutritional benefits and can be seasoned a variety of ways.
Store pumpkins in a cool, dry place. They will last at room temperature for several weeks, and at 40-50 degrees for a few months. Pumpkins can be prepared a variety of ways. They may be cleaned out, steamed whole, and used as an edible, decorative bowl for grain and vegetable mixtures or for soups. Save the top and handle for a lid. Or try cutting your pumpkin in half and baking, cut-side down, in a baking dish at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes. Add a little water to the baking dish to prevent drying out.
To prepare the seeds, scoop them out and rinse in a colander, removing the stringy fibers. Spread out on a cloth and pat dry. For seasoning, try the following recipe or use your own blend. Be creative and experiment!
Spicy Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
1 1/2 cups pumpkin seeds
2 Tablespoons melted butter (or olive oil)
1 Tablespoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Scoop out the inside of your pumpkin, and separate seeds from pulp. Don’t worry if there’s a little pulp left on the seeds when you roast them—it only adds flavor. Just remove the biggest pieces so that the seeds are easy to toss.
3. In a bowl, toss the seeds with the melted butter, coating thoroughly. Add salt and seasonings.
4. Spread seeds in one even layer across a greased baking sheet (or you can use a cookie sheet covered in aluminum foil).
5. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the seeds are golden brown. Stir the seeds several times while they’re baking, so that they toast evenly.