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Saturday, November 1, 2014

How to roast a pumpkin

photo by Amanda Sandlin

It’s hard to believe that Halloween has already come and gone and we’re embracing November's chill. And now, what do you do with all these pumpkins around your home?

If you kept your pumpkins whole this year (uncut with no carving), then you’re in luck because you can still use your pumpkin for this recipe. Just remove any outside decorations (with soap and water, please no flammable substances) as best as you can since the pumpkin will be going into the oven and you don’t want it catching on fire. That would bring a whole different meaning to roasting your pumpkin {Haha} and we don’t want that! For safety reasons, please use an undecorated pumpkin.

I used a small pumpkin aka sugar pumpkin
If you carved your pumpkin this year, then if you go grab it off the porch within 24 hours after carving it, you can use this recipe too. Just make sure there’s no wax, bugs, candy, grass or leaves stuck to the inside flesh. If there is, just cut out that part.

It’s rather easy to roast a pumpkin. The hardest part is cutting it so make sure you have a sharp knife available.

If you’re working with a whole pumpkin, cut the stem off first. After cutting off the stem, cut your pumpkin in half. Using a spoon, scrape out the pumpkin seeds. Don’t throw them away because they make a tasty little snack after being roasted. Place your pumpkin seeds in a container with 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar and enough water to cover the top of them. Place a lid on the container and set aside until the next morning. I can’t remember where I saw this trick, but it helps in getting the stringy flesh of the pumpkin off a little easier.

If you’re working with a carved pumpkin, then you’ve done most of the work already. Cut your pumpkin in half and follow the directions below.

Lightly spray your pumpkin halves with an olive oil spray or coconut spray. Spray both side of the pumpkin halves and rub the oil with your fingers to smear it all over. If you don’t have a spray, you can lightly brush the oil over your pumpkin halves.

Line a cookie sheet with either parchment paper or aluminum foil and place pumpkin halves face down.

Into the oven they go

Cook at 350F degrees for 45-60 minutes or until you can stick a fork through the flesh without any resistance. After flesh becomes soft, remove from oven and let cool for about 30 minutes.

Once pumpkin is cooled off, using a spoon, scrape flesh from shell and place on a separate plate. It should come off easily, if not, it needs to be cooked a little longer. I scraped all the way down to the pumpkin shell.

You can also use the pumpkin shells for composting or feed it to the dogs, like I did. And yes, I checked before feeding it to them, pumpkin rinds are safe for dogs. But please if you're going to feed the rinds to your dog, only do it with a naked pumpkin, not one that was painted, glued, or marked on. My pups love it when mommy makes stuff in the kitchen!

Now you're ready to make any (and all) of the scrumptious recipes out there made with pumpkin!

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