Monday, December 3, 2012

Rendering Pumpkin

This weekend I rendered pumpkin. I always turn the leftover pumpkins into mashed pumpkin to be used in puddings, soups, pies, smoothies, breads and any other recipe requiring pumpkin.  Some folks say that the big pumpkins, not the pie pumpkins, taste blah but I disagree especially if you roast the pumpkin like I do.  Roasting vegetables will always produce a more intense concentrated flavor and that's exactly what happens in the case of roasting pumpkin.

Before I tell you how I do this I want to say that pumpkin is an extremely healthy food. What is so healthy about pumpkin anyway?   First of all any brightly colored fruit or vegetable is going to be a healthy food as the food pigments also known as flavonoids supply many protective antioxidants.  Beta carotene which contains flavonoids gives the pumpkin it's extreme orange color . Pumpkin is also high in Vit A which protects  the eyes and vision, as well as  Vit C for the immune system and  potassium for maintaining electrolytes and keeping the muscles healthy.  A high fiber food, pumpkin is excellent for maintaining a healthy weight and controlling blood sugar levels.

So......let's get started rendering this amazingly healthy food substance:

                               First get a big sturdy sharp knife and cut the pumpkin in half.

Then get a big spoon and start scraping out the seeds and goop.  Take the spoon and literally scrape the inside of the pumpkin...this is the hardest part to this whole process.  Sometimes if I'm in the mood I will save and roast the seeds but this time I just discarded the seeds along with the stringy goop.

Take the pumpkin half and invert it onto a sturdy baking sheet and pour about an inch of water around the pumpkin half. Place in the oven and bake for about a 1 and 1/2 hours at 350˚ until pooped out.

Here is what a pooped out roasted pumpkin half looks like:

Then turn the pumpkin over so you can to scoop out the cooked pumpkin.  This one was so well roasted I couldn't turn it over so I peeled the skin off.   I couldn't stop munching on it, it was so sweet and delicious.  I think if you'd ask me what my favorite food I would have to say it is pumpkin and winter squash and sweet potatoes, I can't ever get enough of these foods.  I then put my cooked, mushed pumpkin in containers for  freezer storage. I put some in little snack bags that I folded in half so I can use those individual portions for adding pumpkin to smoothies or my morning oatmeal.

The next day I made pumpkin soup which I've been eating each day for lunch....I am so addicted to soup for lunch.  My husband found a pumpkin cheesecake recipe which I think I'll be making soon and a dear friend was raving about the pumpkin cheesecake she made for Thanksgiving so I think this is going to be in my future very soon...but I love pumpkin the best as is eaten with a spoon  right out of the container....My son thinks I'm crazy!

Have fun roasting pumpkin....and using your pumpkin throughout the winter.  Share your favorite ways of using pumpkin by leaving a comment below.

Lisa Olko RN is a Certified Health Coach and Lifestyle Educator, to read more about her and the services she offers visit her website.  To get a Free Health Consultation with Lisa click here.


Khalil said...

Pie pumpkins for me because they don't take up a lot of space. I save the seed to roast or air dry for a wild bird seed mix(pumpkin and squash seeds and wheat berries.)

Generally just make pumpkin butter. I found that an ice cream scoop does a good job of getting the seeds and stringy stuff out. I cut in halves or quarters and steam them for about 30-45 min. Scrape the shells and run the pulp through the blender. Place in a crock pot, add sugar, cinnamon, cloves and allspice to taste. Cook it overnight or longer on medium setting. When its done put it freezer or food saver bags and into the freezer.

What's your recipe for pumpkin smoothies?

Stone Circle of Friends said...
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Edibell Stone said...

So cool! I always wondered about how to do it! Thanks for the pictorial walk through. I am very excited to try it! Edibell said...

Hey Khalil,

I was afraid you'd ask me for my smoothie recipe. I usually wing it. It goes something like this: 1 frozen banana, some coconut or almond milk, some hemp powder, some pumpkin, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and clove., ice, and whiz it all in the blender. I will post a recipe when I perfect it. i love the pumpkin butter idea....that sounds really delicious.

Chris Friedman said...

Thanks Lisa! I just put up my Christmas wreath and brought the pumpkins in!! I just cut one and am "rendering" it now. I am saving the seeds. I remember I used to boil them for about an hour and then let them dry out and then roast them. Does that sound right? And how do you season them if you roast the seeds??

xoxo, Chris