Quick! Before you toss your pumpkins for holiday decor, save them!
Pumpkin is loaded with vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber. It is a great source of vitamin A, carotene and lutein. These nutrients are excellent antioxidants, which can stave off cancers. Pumpkin is also a very good source of potassium, phosphorus, calcium, and copper. And that dietary fiber is a power-punch for combatting high cholesterol levels. For in-depth details on the nutrient value of pumpkins, check out the USDA Nutrient guide. It’s one of my favorite resources! (Just don’t look up those Christmas cookies).
All pumpkins are edible, but some are tastier than others. Some have a higher water content and less sugar. This being said, they still pack a good punch of nutrients and minerals and antioxidents (not to mention that awesome fiber). If your pumpkin is more of the carving-type, it may not be perfect for pumpkin pie, but it might be perfect for roasted pumpkin soup with curry spices and maybe a little coconut milk. Or added to chili to hide some vegetables for the family.
If you can eat them, why not save some money and keep them from the trash? This will also help us do our part to decrease the huge impact discarded pumpkins have on our environment (big source of greenhouse gases in landfills – most pumpkins are never eaten!). It takes about an hour to roast and puree a medium pumpkin. Worth it. You can binge an episode of anything on Netflix while the pumpkin roasts. Or do laundry. Or nap. Not here to judge. Whatever you choose to do with your 1 hour, you can know you’re helping the environment while providing for your family and being sustainable all at the same time. Cheers.
Roasted Pumpkin Puree
Pumpkins of any size
Large, sharp knife
Cookie sheets lined with aluminum foil
1. Preheat oven to 400F
2. Cut your pumpkin in half from top to bottom. Be careful.
3. Scoop out the insides – the seeds and the membrane. Leave only the pumpkin flesh. PUT THOSE SEEDS ASIDE! They’re a delicious snack for later.
4. Cut wedges of pumpkin, about an inch or two in width. Arrange your wedges on your cookie sheets in one layer.
5. Roast for at least 1 hour or until pumpkin flesh is soft. Use the fork test – if it slides in and out easily, it’s done. You’ll also see some golden caramelization going on – those sugars are coming out to shine.
6. Once done, let cookie sheets sit on counter until pumpkin is cool enough to handle. Then, using a paring knife, peel the skin off each wedge and add flesh to the food processor. I usually do this right over the food processor because it tends to make a juicy mess. Put skin aside to discard or compost.
7. Puree until well combined. Refrigerate and use within 1 week or freeze for future use, up to 1 year.