Pumpkins have been displayed throughout the United States this month as people celebrate the Halloween season.
Is there a way to not waste them? Absolutely.
Making a pumpkin puree for soups or pies with the insides is a common way to use them. And pumpkin seeds or even the shell can be used to spruce up Halloween treats.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Use a spoon to scrape out the pulp and seeds of the pumpkin into a bowl.
Clean the seeds by rinsing them in a colander under cold water and shake dry.
Put on an oiled baking sheet and roast 30 minutes to dry them out.
Toss the seeds with olive oil, salt and spices. Return to the oven and bake until crisp and golden, which will take about 20 minutes.
Here are some options for spices:
Sweet: Toss with cinnamon and sugar (if you choose this option, do not use salt).
Indian: Toss with garam masala; mix with currants after roasting.
Spanish: Toss with smoked paprika; mix with slivered almonds after roasting.
Italian: Toss with grated parmesan and dried oregano.
Barbecue: Toss with brown sugar, chipotle chile powder and ground cumin.
For the bowls:
4 small baking pumpkins, acorn squash or sweet dumpling squash
For the soup:
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ small chopped onion
2 sprigs thyme
1 medium butternut or kuri squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 teaspoon sugar
3 tablespoons of heavy cream (optional)
Freshly ground pepper
Make the bowls: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Use a paring knife to cut a large circle around the stem of each pumpkin. Remove the lid and scoop out the seeds and fibers. Sprinkle the inside of each with 1/2 teaspoon of sugar and salt. Place the pumpkins and lids on a baking sheet; roast until tender, 20 to 35 minutes, depending on their size.
Meanwhile, make the soup: Melt the butter in a large saucepan over low heat. Add the onion and 1 teaspoon salt. Strip the thyme leaves into the pot, increase the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft about 5 minutes. Add the squash and sugar and cook, stirring, until glazed about 3 to 4 minutes. Add 5 cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until the squash is tender for about 15 to 20 minutes.
Working in batches, transfer the soup to a blender, crack the lid to let steam escape and puree until smooth; return to the saucepan (or puree directly in the pan with an immersion blender). Stir in the heavy cream, if desired. Season with salt and pepper, and top as desired.