Ruchikala (The Art of Taste)

Indian Fusion Cuisine in Portland and Tucson

How to Process Your Pumpkins!

Now it’s true the jack ‘o lantern you’re carving has a much lower sugar content than the cute little sugar pie pumpkins, but it doesn’t mean that it’s devoid of taste!  I prefer using this pumpkin for more savory options than sweet and after it’s roasted and pureed they are texturally as smooth as can be.

 You may want to be cautious if you’re buying your pumpkin at a large conventional grocery store you could run into a good deal of trouble as many of them are pumped with pesticides to produce a shapely crop but if you are one of those awesome halloween adventure seekers that travel to your neighborhood farm for your bounty odds are pretty good that you’re pumpkin is on the safer end for consumption. Tucson CSA subscribers – I’m looking at you!  Even Trader Joes sells some organic pumpkins. Local Harvest also has a GREAT little locator for finding healthy happy pumpkins so that you can double duty your Halloween accoutrements. 

When you bring your pumpkin in you’re gonna want to give him a quick rinse.  Cut him up into reasonable strips and put on a baking pan. Coat each piece with vegetable oil and a crack of salt and pepper (hold off on the S & P if you’re going to be working a sweet angle).  I prefer using  bootleg pans that I’ve already wrecked (like this one above) so that you don’t have to worry about any grease damage.  

Roast the pumpkin at 450 degrees for about 1 hour or so.  Yours may take longer depending on the size of the pumpkin.  I use a steak knife to test doneness.  At the one hour mark drop your knife into the flesh, if it gives pretty easy you’re good to go, if its a bit of a struggle give it some more time.  Depending on the amount you have going your pumpkin may roast an additional hour.

When it’s tender, pull it out of the oven and let the flesh cool for about 15 minutes or so. I like to use a rubber spatula to scrape the flesh from the skin.  At this point you can puree it into a smooth mass using your food processor.  You can strain the liquid using a chinois and turn  I like to strain the liquid and even for savory application so that I can use it as a kind of a pumpkin stock and or use to control the thickness of the soup.  You can also skip this step and use the puree as is. 

Pumpkin freezes really well in Gallon zip lock bags, so Pumpkin chili all year long, right?

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