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Pumpkin (or Winter Squash) Recipes

October 13, 2013
Beautiful fall color on the edge of the field

Beautiful fall color on the edge of the field

Before I get to the recipes, let me give a quick farm update. I have been so happy to have such nice weather the last two weekends. The rain from a few weeks ago made me think our chance to put in cover crop was over, but the soil is drying out and I hope to get the fields prepped this week (tilled with the tractor) and the cover crop seed sown on a good seed bed. I will also try to get beds ready to plant garlic and fava beans. For this, we pulled out all the tomato plants in one field, since I didn’t want too much plant debris in the way. It felt odd to pull them out when they were still looking good, though not producing much of anything. Usually, by the time I pull them out, they are dead. Not this year.

I've seed this guy hanging around the farm quite a bit lately

I’ve seed this guy hanging around the farm quite a bit lately

We are still working on the gophers, and catching more each week in the traps. We caught number 38 today. It was a big one, and it was a slow death. It dragged itself out of the tunnel, while still in the trap, trying to get away. Steven had to finish it off. I still can’t do it. I suppose I will eventually harden up to the realities of animal death on farms, but I think it will be a slow process.

Unfortunately, we haven’t been trapping or working on the voles and they are getting into everything. Today, I was harvesting the pumpkins and squash, and discovered that more than half of the Rouge vif d’Etampes pumpkins and the acorn squash had been nibbled by the voles. Sometimes it is just one little bite, but they are then contaminated and I can’t sell them. I would rather they just eat the whole thing. Fortunately, I have seen a hawk a (red tailed hawk?) hanging around the fields. I am hoping it is getting some good hunting in.

A Winter Luxury pie pumpkin, but good for more than just pie

A Winter Luxury pie pumpkin, but good for more than just pie

Despite the voles, there are still lots of pumpkins and winter squash for us humans to eat. So, up next are some recipes. Pumpkins and winter squash can be used interchangeably in recipes, as long as the pumpkins are the eating kind and not the carving kind. All the pumpkins I grow are for eating, with one slight exception: the Kakai Hulless. The Kakai Hulless has good seeds for eating, but the flesh is not good to eat. Different varieties of pumpkins and winter squash do have variations in flavor, sweetness and texture (dry or moist or more or less smooth), which may give them a slight advantage or disadvantage in different types of recipes.

A Kakai Hulless pumpkin

A Kakai Hulless pumpkin

Since I mentioned the Kakai Hulless, I’ll start with that. It has hulless seeds, which are perfect for roasting. This is the first year I have grown this pumpkin and I haven’t had a chance to try roasting the seeds yet. To start, separate the seeds from the pulp. Rinse them under running water in a strainer. You can then soak them in a brine solution for a couple hours (half teaspoon of kosher salt per cup of water) or you can boil them in water for 5-10 minutes. I haven’t tried the brining, but that might add some good salt flavor to the seeds. I have boiled them, but that was not with hulless seeds, so I am not sure how it will work with them. (Update: I tried boiling the hulless seeds and I have concluded it is overkill. I think it works with regular seeds, but these don’t need it. I also brined some, but haven’t finished roasting them yet.) After brining or boiling, rub the seeds under water to get off any remaining pulp. Drain and pat dry and you’ll be ready to roast and season. (These methods came from Mother Earth News and the More-With-Less Cookbook.)

Seed Snacks I– from the More-With-Less Cookbook (This is my go-to recipe, because it is quick, easy and tastes great)

For each cup of prepared seeds, combine and mix with 1 T melted butter and 1 t Worcestershire sauce. Sprinkle with salt or seasoned salt. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until nearly dry.

Sweet and Spicy Pumpkin Seeds from Martha Stewart

Bake 1 cup of prepared pumpkin seeds on a parchment lined baking sheet in a 250 degree oven until dry, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour. Let cool.

In a medium bowl, combine 3 T sugar, 1/4 t coarse salt, 1/4 t cumin, 1/4 t cinnamon, 1/4 t ginger and a pinch of cayenne pepper (to taste).  Heat 1 1/2 T peanut oil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add pumpkin seeds and 2 T sugar. Cook until the sugar melts and  the pumpkin seeds begin to caramelize, about 45 to 60 seconds. Transfer to the bowl with spices and stir well to coat.

Sweet & Spicy Pumpkin Seeds from 101cookbooks

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together 1 egg white, 1/4 c sugar, 1/2 t cayenne pepper and 1/2 t sea salt. Add one cup of prepared pumpkin seeds and toss well. Drain off any excess egg white (using a strainer) and place seeds in a single layer across a baking sheet. Bake for about 12 minutes or until seeds are gold. Sprinkle with more sugar and cayenne pepper and salt, if needed, when they come out of the oven.

Curried Pumpkin Seeds from 101cookbooks

Follow the recipe for Sweet & Spicy Pumpkins Seeds above, but use 2 t curry powder in place of the sugar and cayenne pepper.

I have a lot more pumpkin and winter squash recipes to share, but I am going to stop here for now. If you have a favorite way to roast seeds or a favorite pumpkin/squash recipe, please share it in the comments!

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