With Halloween and Thanksgiving behind us, it’s time to clear out those fall decorations in order to make room for Christmas trees, lights, and gingerbread houses. But think again before tossing out that big orange pumpkin! Especially if it’s that special pumpkin that one of the kids picked out and has decorated or dressed up. It’s much easier than one would think to turn this symbol of the fall season into an enjoyable snack, and a great way to get the entire family into the kitchen for some seasonal fun! Here are a few ways to prepare pumpkin that are simply too quick and easy to pass up.
How to Bake the Pumpkin
First, you will need to clean the pumpkin well. Afterall, what other fall decoration is touched more than the pumpkin. If it has any drawings or has been decorated, (with non-toxic children’s markers only) wash the pumpkin well with dish washing liquid. Once it’s dry, start from the stem of the pumpkin, cutting it in half. Split the halves again leaving the pumpkin quartered. With a large spoon, scrape the seeds and stringy fibers from the sides of the pumpkin. Save the seeds. These can be washed, dried and roasted for a delicious snack. Kids will enjoy eating this alternative to sunflower seeds.
To prepare the pumpkin for baking, lay the pumpkin quarters in a pan, skin facing up. Have the kids oil the skin with cooking oil, then lightly salt. Place in the oven on 350 degrees and back for about an hour and a half, or until skin is a dark orange and the halves are flattened out. Remove from oven and allow to cool before removing the skin. Place the baked pumpkin in zip lock bags and allow the kids to squeeze the bags until the pumpkin has a pureed consistency. With a little cinnamon and sugar, the pumpkin is ready to be enjoyed, or can be used as prepared pumpkin.
Easy Recipes Using Pumpkins
Use one of these easy pumpkin recipes or try out a favorite of your own!
Easy Pumpkin Butter
Combine 2 cups pumpkin puree, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1/3 cup honey and 1 tablesppon of lemon juice into a saucepan and cook over low heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool and serve.
Easy Pumpkin Brownies
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare a baking dish with grease or parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine 3/4 cup peanut butter and 3/4 cup pumpkin puree. Whisk in 2 eggs, then add 1/2 cup of honey and 1 tsp of vanilla. Add 1/2 cup cocoa powder, 1/2 tsp baking soda and a pinch of salt, and stir until combined. Pour mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 22-25 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Different size and shape pans, will yield different baking times. Let cool before serving. For a drizzly chocolate topping, melt 1/2 cup of chocolate chips in the microwave with tsp coconut oil.