It’s nearly November, and the skies are getting gloomy. It’s time to snuggle and drink hot cocoa. And check out some local farms to get resources to make treats!
I knew I wanted to get a couple pumpkins, and instead of just grabbing one out of a cardboard box from a grocery store, I wanted to go on a little adventure. It’s a bit late in the season now, but I was able to just catch the last weekend of the open pumpkin patch at Shenot Farm.
It was so worth the drive to Wexford. The farm was lovely, and they had an abundance of fresh veggies in the store. There was even hot coffee and cocoa available by Curly Tail Coffee!! Did you know they support local dog and pig rescues? If this coffee truck was at every event I ever went to, I’d be so happy.
Shenot Farm was the perfect place to go over the weekend. I geared up in my boots (which I thought were waterproof, but I was wrong) and a cute fall sweater, and I got to take in a little bit of nature and peace. I grew up on a farm, so walking uphill through the mud felt so right. It was quiet, except for a handful of children’s giggles and squeals as they picked out the best and biggest pumpkins to carve into jack-o-lanterns.
This was my first visit to Shenot, but they are open year round, so I’d love to go back and see how things change by season. Although the pumpkin patch is closed until next fall, they have their PUMPKIN SMASH on November 3rd and 4th. Whaaaaat! That’s amazing, and is a perfect way for your kiddos to let loose in a mildy destructive and safe way.
If you’re looking to make treats to eat though, I can help!
To start, you want to rinse the whole pumpkin so there isn’t any dirt residue hanging around. The skin will get tossed out, but you don’t want to risk any dirt crumbs falling into edible parts.
Then cut off the end with the stem. You don’t have to chop real deep. You just want to get the stem out of the way. Then, VERY CAREFULLY, slice the pumpkin in half, and cut those two pieces in half as well. I say carefully because some of these pumpkins can be pretty tough. The first one I cut up was real easy, but this one was SOLID. Just be careful and patient. When in doubt, ask for help!
Your pumpkin will be full of the “guts” you remember as a kid. These are the fibrous strands intertwined with seeds. Separating the seeds takes some time, but so does roasting your pumpkin, so I recommend doing both tasks at the same time while watching a good show on Netflix (if you haven’t seen The Haunting of Hill House yet…).
So, go ahead and scoop out the seeds and gunk with a spoon and set it aside in a bowl. You’ll want to scrape out most of the hairy remains, but don’t worry about it too much. Now you can pop your pumpkin pieces on an old baking tray or in a deep roasting dish, skin side down. I add a very shallow layer of water to the tray when it goes in to help create some steam in the oven to soften the flesh. Let it to cook for 1 hour at 320°.
In the meantime, you can gather the seeds from the gunk. I like to do a three bowl sequence. Garbage – Mixed – Seeds. You’ll want two additional bowls to your bowl of innards, one filled halfway with water. This way, you can separate the seeds and plop them in the water to soak, and toss the now empty strands into your spare bowl.
Once all the seeds have been removed, transfer them to a strainer or colander and rinse them to try to get the pumpkin stragglers off. Then, lay the seeds out on a towel to dry overnight (or at least an hour or two if you can’t wait). For a simple finish, once the seeds are dry, toss in a little bit of olive oil with some salt and pepper and bake them on a cookie sheet (doesn’t need parchment or anything) at 320°F for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally to evenly brown.
I’ll have a couple recipes for different roasted pumpkin seeds flavors soon!
But, back to pumpkin puree.
Once the pumpkin is cooked, the flesh should be soft enough to easily insert a spoon into the flesh. Let it cool for a bit, maybe 20 minutes. You then want to cut the flesh away from the skin and add the flesh to a food processor. The best way to do this is to slice it horizontally like you are filleting a fish. If the flesh is soft enough, you can even scoop it out with a spoon. Blitz up the flesh, one wedge at a time, until you get a very smooth puree. Do this with each remaining pumpkin wedge and add all the puree to an airtight container, and pop in the fridge until you’re ready to use it for recipes!
You did it!
I got so much puree out of this pumpkin that it didn’t all fit in one container! I’ve been making pumpkin everything since I made this puree, and I’ll be sharing some recipes with you soon on what you can do with yours too!