More Green For Less Green

Living more eco-friendly for less money


Homemade Pumpkin Puree & Toasted Seeds

I imagine this sounds like a wacky undertaking to some. There is no doubt that canned pumpkin is easier and probably more consistent in quality, but hubby and I are working to cut down using canned products. One concern is BPA, but moreover, cans are heavy and require more energy in shipping, plus the production of the can and then recycling of it also use energy. In contrast, our local pumpkin had a quick ride from farm to farmer's market to our home and everything that we won't eat (pumpkin skin, stem, and guts) was composted.

Also, we love to do things on the cheap. And this was cheap, for sure. Our $5 pumpkin gave us the 13 cups of puree, plus lots of pumpkin seeds that I toasted for snacks.

Here are the instructions that I used for roasting the pumpkin:

Modifications: I did not use a pie pumpkin; I used a large jack-o-lantern one. Some people swear by not using those because they are less sweet and more stringy, but that is what they had at the farmers' market and several friends told me they had had success with them. Happily, my pumpkin wasn't stringy at all.

I cut the pumpkin in half with an electric knife. To scrape the inside, we have this little, cheapy pumpkin scraper from an old carving kit that works wonderfully. That part was less trouble than I anticpated. The longest part was getting the cooked pumpkin into the food processor. It wasn't hard as much as time-consuming. I felt like I was wasting too much by spooning it, so I used a filet knife to take off the skin.

While the pumpkin was roasting on the lower rack, I baked the pumpkin seeds on the top rack according to this recipe (which calls for the same temperature as the roasting pumpkin):

But, if you'd like a little more variety with your seeds, I like all of the alternatives in this recipe:

If you haven't had pumpkin seeds before, they taste similar to a sunflower seed but have a very light pumpkin flavor to them. You can shell them and just eat the flat seed inside or eat them with the shell. Personally, I prefer to eat them in the shell because it is easier.

So what to do with 13 cups of pumpkin puree? I've been taking suggestions and here's what I've got: pancakes from the Deceptively Delicious cookbook, pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, my stepmom's family recipe pumpkin bread, pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, pumpkin soufflé, Rachel Ray's gingerbread waffles, slow cooker pumpkin custard, pumpkin soup, and of course, pumpkin pie

Cost: $5 for the pumpkin
Time spent: 3 hours: 90 minutes of roasting, 90 minutes of labor: gutting the pumpkin, removing seeds for toasting, then shelling the cooked pumpkin, pureeing, and portioning*

*I portioned the pumpkin into a variety of sizes: ½ cup, 1 cup, 2 cups, and 3 cups and popped it into the freezer.

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