Pumpkins finally came out of the garden. Yay! Why is this exciting news? Because I haven’t had much luck with pumpkins before. I had a rampant vine that took over my garden, flowers would bloom, fruit would develop….then shrivel up and die. It was disheartening.
I had given up on the pumpkin vine and just decided to let it do its thing….trail all over my garden! The time did come where I had to pull most off the vine up before it took over completely. While I was pulling it up, I noticed a pumpkin – it was a decent size. Once I noticed that one, others appeared before my eyes. I would have pumpkins from the garden this year.
I harvested them and are ready to use in the kitchen. I was making a roast pumpkin salad for a BBQ. When my mum used to roast pumpkin, she would always leave the skin on. I loved eating pumpkin like this. A friend bakes the pumpkin skin separately. She drizzles the pumpkin skin with olive oil and sprinkles salt – it is yummo. I’m a pumpkin skin fan.
Instead of putting the skin and seeds into the compost, I decided that I would use them in the kitchen. I would roast the skin separately and bake those seeds.
Nat’s Pumpkin Salad
The recipe for this is simple. I haven’t stated how many grams of pumpkin to use because pumpkins are all different sizes. This recipe can be adapted to what ever size pumpkin you are using. The pumpkin I used for this was medium sized.
Chop the pumpkin into small pieces. Add these pieces to a baking dish. Add chopped red onion to the dish. I like cutting my red onion into crescents.
Mix olive oil and cumin together in a small bowl. Start off using two tablespoons of oil to two teaspoons of cumin. Add this mixture to the baking dish and mix. You might like to add more cumin depending on how strong you like cumin or add more oil if you feel the pumpkin isn’t coated enough. All pumpkin and red onion pieces need to be coated with oil to roast nicely.
Sprinkle the pumpkin pieces with salt. Bake at 180 degrees for 45 minutes. You want to give this a stir halfway through baking. After 45 minutes check if the pumpkin is tender. If not, bake for a bit longer.
Once the pumpkin had cooled down, add one can of chickpeas. Combine.
Add ins – crumbled feta cheese, roasted pecans, chopped coriander or parsley. Add either one or all.
This is a great salad to take to a BBQ. I have taken this salad regularly to a monthly BBQ I attend. It is now known as Nat’s Pumpkin Salad.
Baked Pumpkin Skin
Get a large container with a lid. Put the pumpkin skin, drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle of salt in it. Pop the lid on and give it a good shake. I find that by using this method all the pumpkin skin gets evenly coated with oil.
If you don’t have a large container with a lid, a large bowl will do. Just pop the pumpkin skin, oil and salt in and mix.
Lay the pumpkin skin on a baking tray. You don’t want the skin to overlap but touching each other is fine. The skin will shrink while cooking.
Bake at 180 degrees for approx. 15 minutes. Then sprinkle sesame seeds over the skins. Bake for another 5 minutes. Check the skins after this time. If they are not too crispy then cook for another 5 minutes.
These pumpkin skins don’t last long once the tray comes of the oven (and they cool down slightly!). You can snack on them as is or add them to a salad plate. They are very yummy with hommus too.
Pumpkin Seeds make delicious snacks.
I soaked my pumpkin seeds in a bowl of water to remove the pumpkin flesh. Then pop them in a colander to drain. I then used a clean tea towel to dry them. Just dump them on the tea towel, wrap them up and pat the tea towel down.
Then put the seeds in a bowl. I decided to add a splash of tamari and tiny bit of maple syrup to coat these seeds before they went into the oven. So far so good. What I decided to do next is where I went wrong. Dinner time at my place can be hectic. Why I decided to pop the seeds in the oven just before we sat down to dinner – I’m not sure! But what happened is I forgot about the seeds…until I smelt burning. The seeds were burnt to a crisp. No good for snacking. (I know because I tried one.)
Lucky for me, pumpkin seed saving was on the agenda at the kids school the following week. I was given a bag of pumpkin seeds to take back home. Thanks Donna.
These were made into tasty snacks (that weren’t charcoal.)
Into the bowl went the seeds (about a handful), half a tablespoon of olive oil and a sprinkle of porcini salt. These amounts can be adapted to how many seeds you have eg more seeds, more oil and seasoning.
In my oven I baked the seeds at 180 degrees for 15 minutes. You could check the seeds at the 10 minute mark. Take a seed off the tray, blow on it to cool it down and pop it in your mouth. Apparently the inside of the seeds burns before the outside does. So the outside colour is no gauge as to whether the seeds are burnt.
So there is how I used the whole pumpkin in the kitchen. What I had left to go into the compost heap, wasn’t much at all.
Do you use the whole pumpkin in the kitchen? What are some of your favourite pumpkin recipes? Please feel free to share in the comments below.
Here is another tasty way to bake those pumpkin seeds from Oh She Glows.
Stuffed Pumpkins are awesome as well. Check out 10 Things You Can Cook Inside a Pumpkin. Just don’t throw out those seeds!