While canned pumpkin may make a showing when there is nothing else, I really do like making my own pumpkin purée. The canned stuff is not usually even from pie pumpkins (but from some butternut type of squash). It is easy, although it takes planning ahead if you want to make a pie or cake or bread. This time of year I find it easiest to stick a tray of pumpkin in to roast every time I use the oven - and the freeze it for later!
So, to start. Take a pie pumpkin. Not a huge carving pumpkin (not so tasty) but the smaller ones that will be called pie pumpkins. Clean. Cut off the top. Cut in half or quarters.
Scoop out all of the pulp/seeds (save those!). Place in a baking dish in a 350ºF oven (I usually do cut side down, but you don't have to), and bake for 30-45 minutes, until the pumpkin is soft.
Let cool. Peel back the skins, use a knife if you need a little help. Some pumpkins are more liquidy than others, so I like to put the scraped pulp first into a strainer and let sit for a bit for the extra juice to drip out. From there you can smooth however you like - whiz in a blender or food processor, run through a food mill, or simply use a potato masher. Put into a container and freeze, or use immediately!
Now, what to do with all of those seeds? Take the pulpy seedy blobs and run your fingers through to extract as many seeds as you can. Don't worry if there are tiny bits of pumpkin still in there. Take your pumpkin seeds and put into a saucepan. Just cover with water, and add a nice big pinch of sea salt. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain. Most recipes skip this step but boiling them with a pinch of salt first really gives them better flavor, and the outer husk part is not as tough so it is crunchy but delicious.
Place a teaspoon of oil (I used sunflower oil) on a cookie sheet, and pour your pumpkin seeds over it. Use your fingers to coat all of the seeds. Now, add your seasoning. Sea salt, brown sugar, paprika, chili powder...find your favorite!
Today I used 1/2 teaspoon of yellow curry powder, 1 Tbsp of dark brown sugar, and a pinch of sea salt. SO good.
Gently stir the pumpkin seeds to coat in your seasoning mix. Spread evenly on the sheet and place in your oven while you are baking the pumpkin chunks. Stir every 15 minutes or so, and continue baking in the oven until they are golden - about 30-45 minutes, depending on how many seeds you have on the tray (all pumpkins are different, so...). Remove from oven and let cool.
SO good! I am using these pumpkin seeds (well, what I have not eaten!) in a trail mix. And tomorrow I'm making a batch of pumpkin butter with the puree.
pumpkin seeds:: "Pumpkin seeds are a very good source of the minerals phosphorus, magnesium and manganese. They are also a good source of other minerals including zinc, iron and copper. In addition, pumpkin seeds are a good source of protein and vitamin K."