Halloween’s been and gone again, and we’re onto thinking about Christmas. But in preparation for next Halloween, I’m sharing how I used pretty much all of our pumpkin. I roasted pumpkin seeds and made pumpkin puree to use for various desserts.
We don’t do much for Halloween. N doesn’t go trick or treating, he doesn’t dress up. Really it’s just a day that passes us by. But he did decide when we were at the farm shop the day before halloween, that he wanted to carve a pumpkin. So we got one home and he set to work on it.
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The joys of having an older child. No need to do the carving and de-pulping myself.
I made sure he saved me the pumpkin seeds, but he struggled to hollow out much of the inside. He just left most of it as was rather than scraping out some of the flesh.
I didn’t think we’d have much chance to make use of the flesh and assumed it would be wasted. But our pumpkin was only outside for one day, raised off the ground with its lid on. So rather than just leave it to rot or throw it out, I decided sod it, I’d carve it out to roast the flesh.
Lots of people say you can’t use carving pumpkins for eating but you can. Smaller ones will be tastier. Most recipes add spices anyway, so you don’t need the biggest flavour.
How to make pumpkin puree
There are a couple of ways you can prep your pumpkin to make pumpkin puree. If we’d not already carved it for halloween, I’d have just halved it, pulled out the stringy part and seeds from the centre, then put the 2 halves on a baking tray and in the oven until the flesh was soft inside.
Because ours was already carved, the inside was already just the flesh as the pulpy bit had been removed. So I chopped it into pieces, then removed the flesh from the outside skin. I used a sharp knife the same way I would a melon slices.
To make it easier to puree, I cut the wedges into smaller pieces as though I was roasting them.
You can use your preferred oil. I used light olive oil, but you can use coconut oil, rapeseed oil or avocado depending on what you’ll be using your pumpkin puree for afterwards. If you’re making sweet dishes you might want to use a lighter non-flavoured type, if it’s for a savoury dish then avocado, rapeseed or olive oil is fine. I just used what I had out. If I’m using it in the sweet dishes I planned, they’ll have sweeteners in and spices so I won’t be able to taste the oil.
Just lightly coat the tray and pumpkin pieces to stop them sticking, then cook in the oven until the flesh is soft.
Using a stick blender or normal blender, puree the pumpkin until smooth, then let it fully cool.
Store in the fridge for a couple of days in a covered container, or freeze in soup bags or tupperware in the portion sizes you want. You could also use ice cube trays. To use pumpkin puree from the freezer, remove what you want, and either defrost in the microwave or on the side until needed. Or if you’re using to make a soup, you can just defrost in a pan as you’re cooking it.
I’ve used my pumpkin puree to make keto pumpkin fluff (like a mousse, or cheesecake type pudding), and will use some for muffins and maybe soup.
Keto pumpkin mousse recipe
Serves 2, prep time 10 mins, chill time optional
- 125g pumpkin puree
- 150g double cream
- 100g cream cheese
- 1.5 tbsp keto friendly sweetner (I use erythritol, change the amount depending on the sweetener you use if it’s not 1:1 with sugar)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 pinch of ground ginger
- grating of nutmeg
Instructions for pumpkin mousse
1, Whip the cold cream until just about stiff peaks
2, Put the other ingredients into a bowl and whisk until combined and smooth. Make sure the puree and cream cheese are straight from the fridge before using.
3, Fold the cream into the pumpkin mix
4, Spoon or pipe using a wide nozzle into ramekins or 2 small dessert bowls.
You can chill in the fridge before spooning into bowls. Serve as it is, or with a dollop of whipped cream, drizzle of melted low sugar chocolate, or with keto biscuits on the side.
How to roast pumpkin seeds
Pumpkin seeds are really tasty, and provide lots of benefits being high in fibre, healthy fats, zinc, selenium and magnesium. You can eat them on their own as a snack, or add them to smoothie bowls, granola, bread or muffins. Roasted is nicest, and I find just a couple of pinches of them is fine for me for a healthy snack.
They don’t take much effort to roast, but it’s worth it, and saves waste.
Once you’ve scooped them from the pumpkin, rinse them in water to remove most of the pulp. The boil them in water in a pan for about 5 minutes to help remove the rest and help start the cooking inside. I don’t really use salt to cook, so didn’t salt my water, but you can salt it first if you want a salty flavour.
Pat them dry, then put on a baking tray with a small amount of olive oil (I sprinkled a tiny pinch of salt over then). Toss them in the oil, spread out and bake in the top of a pre-heated oven (180C or 160C fan) from 5 to 20 minutes. Keep an eye on them because you want them just lightly golden, but they can catch fast. Ours took nearly 20 minutes, but others might take less.
Leave to cool then eat orput into an airtight container to snack or cook with as you want.
They’re so light to eat, crunchy and tasty. N keeps wandering off into the larder and taking some to eat. I think he’s probably had more of them than me! He was surprised at how tasty they are.
I was happy to make the most of our pumpkin, and will definitely do the same in future years too.
Because N was such a fan, I’ve since roasted shop bought pumpkin seeds. These are always much darker. Just ignore the boiling in water stage, and go straight to roasting.
What have you cooked with your pumpkin?
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