It’s Pumpkin Season

We all do our weekly grocery shopping. We buy everything we need in one giant supermarket. Some of the items we buy are ready-made and some of it will become ingredients for a future meal. It’s so convenient and fabulous to get everything at one store, this I will never deny, but have you ever really wondered where it comes from?

I started thinking about this a lot a few years ago. This is when I became pretty obsessed with making all of my own food from scratch. I learned how to make Kefir, peanut butter, jelly, yogurt, and more (Nick’s saying these last few years has been “You do know we can buy that, right?” 

My obsession with making everything from scratch has now escalated to trying to grow my own food, or at least, get it from a local farm. This is obviously not possible with everything, but I try to do it whenever I can.

And this brings me to my latest adventure… 

I LOVE pumpkin. I eat it all year long. I can do pumpkin sweet. I can do pumpkin savory. I love it! I’m that crazy girl, in May buying 4 cans of pumpkin (that have probably sat on the shelf since November). I get mad when “everybody” buys it all in the fall and it goes out of stock. They are the fair weather fans…I’m dedicated all year. I should get priority.

Anyway, I have never actually roasted a pumpkin. 

Kentucky, is full of farms and fresh local produce…are you seeing where I’m going?  

Oh yes!…I was going to roast a whooooole pumpkin. And, not just any pumpkin. I was actually going to pick it from a farm.

So, last Saturday, I dragged Nick to a local farm that had a “pumpkin patch.” This was not like any pumpkin patch I had ever been to. This was acres and acres and acres of fields, full of pumpkin vines. This was perfect! We walked throughout the entire patch searching all the pumpkins.

Nick loved every minute of it. He rolls his eyes to show me how excited he is, so I know he was having a blast!

We picked out so many pumpkins and were just about done, when we started talking to one of the workers. I told her how excited I was to roast my first pumpkin. 

“You can’t roast those!” She said, looking at my cart.

What??!! These are pumpkins, lady. What’s the matter with her? I was as confused as you may be right now.

“Those are decorating pumpkins,” she told me. “You need the special pumpkins for cooking.”

For decoration only!

She showed me what to look for. These pumpkins are much smaller, and flatter. I picked out the perfect one, along with a striped cushaw squash that she also told me is great for roasting. I was so excited!

Cushaw and roasting/pie pumpkin

The next day, I washed my pumpkin. The first mission was to cut it open. This was actually the hardest part. I imagined cutting off a finger and this story ending drastically different.

I scooped out all of the seeds and placed the halves, cut side down, on baking sheets. I roasted them, on 400, for 90 minutes (if your pumpkin is very small it will take less time). 

A pumpkin tanning bed…

After an hour and a half, the smell was amazing! I stabbed it with a fork. Yep! It was perfectly soft. My pumpkin was done! I took him out of the oven and let him cool (no I didn’t…I totally took a bite and burnt my mouth).

After he cooled, I peeled off his skin, a very easy task, And scooped out all the flesh. I dumped him in my nutribullet and zipped him into a beautiful puree. Wa-La! I did it!

I immediately started using it. The first thing was my overnight oats. I add pumpkin to my oat concoction every day (obsessed…I warned you). I also made a pumpkin-garlic soup, pumpkin chocolate chip bread, and a pumpkin gelato.

Sweet Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

I can’t wait to look up and develop more great uses for my pumpkin puree. This has been on my cooking-bucket list for a while now. It surely didn’t disappoint, and it was so easy! I plan to be doing this very often… 

Move over, Libby.

Recipe to roast your own pumpkin

1 sugar pumpkin (small and flat)

Preheat oven to 400, and line a baking sheet with foil.

Cut your pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds (save them for roasting, later). Place your pumpkin halves, cut side down, on the foil. Roast until soft (60-90 minutes, depending on size.) Scoop out the flesh and puree in a food processor or blender. Refrigerate your purée.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread (Healthy)

Recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie

  • 1 cup pumpkin purée
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 TBSP ground flax seeds
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup of sugar (I did half brown/half white)
  • 2 tsp cinnamon, a pinch of ginger and nutmeg
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven at 350, and grease a 8 inch loaf pan. 

Whisk together pumpkin, milk, seeds and vanilla in a bowl. Set aside. In a larger bowl, stir together all remaining ingredients. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry. Stir until just combined. Pour into your loaf pan. Bake 40 minutes.

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