Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Late Summer Harvest

My garden is slowly winding itself down. It's looking very weedy and overgrown (in case you were wondering if I weeded or not. haha!) I harvested our popcorn and got two more pumpkins! There's been a slow trickle of peppers and red zebra-stripe tomatoes. The most exciting thing was that I dug up the potato plant I planted from a sprouting red potato in the compost and we got 3 potatoes! I love growing potatoes. They're just so fun to dig up!

I still have one more pumpkin on the vine, and some watermelons. How do you know when they're ripe? And the sweet potato that sprouted in my kitchen and I planted later has grown into a large, beautiful plant. I had to ask someone how to harvest them - I didn't even know! She said I had to dig them up, just like potatoes. I'm really excited to see what's down there.

I realized that I haven't posted a recipe for awhile so, here's my recipe for baking pumpkins and roasting pumpkin seeds!

Baked Pumpkin

- 1 Pumpkin Pie Pumpkin, Sugar Pumpkin, or any smallish pumpkin (the flavor is better than a large one)
- parchment paper

Set your oven to 375ºF to preheat. Line a jelly roll cookie sheet (the kind with a lip around the edge) or large cake pan with parchment paper.

Cut out around the stem and remove. Then slice your pumpkin in half. Scrape out the stringy pulp and seeds (save the seeds for toasting later). Don't worry about being too meticulous and getting every single string out. We're not carving a jack-o-lantern! Place the pumpkins, cut part down on the cookie sheet. Slide them into the oven and allow them to bake for about 1 hour or until a knife passes cleanly & easily through the tough skin and inner pulp without resistance. Take them out and allow to cool for an hour or two. .

Turn the pumpkins on their back and scrape out the pulp, gently scraping as close to the skin as you can to get as much pulp as you can. Place all the pulp in a bowl and mash with a potato masher until fairly smooth (there will still be some lumps.)

Now you're ready to bake! I made some Pumpkin Muffins and they were delicious!

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

- seeds from your baked pumpkin
- olive oil
- salt

Grease a jelly pan cookie sheet (with a lip around it) with cooking spray or oil and set aside. You can use parchment paper instead if you'd like.

Place the pumpkin seeds in a colander and run a trickle of water over them as you remove the threads. The water will help the seeds slide through your fingers instead of sticking to them. Remove all the pulp and threads, preferable watching a Jane Austen movie. It's a tedious job! Once that's done, set your oven to 350ºF.

Shake the colander to drain as much water as you can and transfer the seeds to a bowl. Drizzle 2 -4 Tbsp. of olive oil over your pumpkin seeds. You might want more or less, but the goal is to make sure the seeds are coated well. Shake salt to taste over the seeds and mix thoroughly. Pop a seed in your mouth to make sure the salt ratio is enough (you don't have to chew it if you don't want!).

Once it's to your taste, spread the pumpkin seeds over the cookie sheet so that it is an even thickness. You want a single layer here, without much overlap of seeds so that they roast evenly. Put the seeds in the oven and roast for about 10 minutes. Stir the seeds and roast for an additional 10 minutes or until the seeds are golden and dry.

Enjoy them with the rest of that Jane Austen movie!

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