Thursday, October 14, 2010

Tis The Season-- For Pumpkins!!

When I was really little, my mother and I would prepare whole pumpkins. We'd make pies and cookies out of the meat and bake up the seeds. It took a long time, but the house smelled heavenly and we were at our happiest. Those are some of my best memories, and today I feel like reliving them.My mom and I never did pumpkin quite this way, but the act of preparing it made my soul smile the way it used to when she was alive and well. I miss her very much.  
Spiced Pumpkin


  • 1 pie pumpkin (Those medium to small ones, their meat is sweeter)
  • 1 delicata squash (optional- I had one and decided to bake them both up together)
  • _
  • Since this was the first time I attempted making pumpkin by myself, I experimented with two types of seasoning:
  • 1. 1/2 stick of non-hydrogenated margarine, 2 Tbspns packed brown sugar, and lots of the following spices- Jamaican Jerk Seasoning, Smoked Paprika, Parsley and Sea Salt.
  • 2. A sweet rub made out of the following- About 1/3 Cup of Honey, 1 Tbspn packed Brown Sugar, Cumin, Nutmeg, Sage, Parsley, Chili and Garlic Powder, Salt and Pepper.
  • Water for the bottom of each pan.
  • Note: I don't include much measurements for the spices because my taste buds are damaged and I use a lot more than you will. Use what you feel appropriate, this way you and your family will enjoy it better to your specifications.

How to make it

  • Preheat oven to 400F. Prepare pumpkin by removing the stem, cutting it in half from the top and spooning out all the seeds and gunk from the center, the way you would a cantaloupe. Same thing with the delicata squash, but be careful with the knife; my friend took part of her finger off slicing acorn squash once so I cannot stress enough to pay attention when you cut them!!
  • Rinse the halves well, inside and out, pat dry with paper towels.
  • I cut them into chunks to eat them easier, you don't have to. Place into pan skin-side down and put a thin layer of water at the bottom so they don't burn.
  • The first seasoning I tried (With Jamaican Jerk) I made in a small pyrex pot separately. Melt the butter, stirring often to prevent burning and remove from heat when nearly melted, continue stirring until brown sugar is blended in smoothly. Add spices to taste, be careful as the Jamaican Jerk is spicy. Add the rest of the spices, blend well and spread evenly over the pumpkin and squash.
  • The second seasoning mix I tried was less spicy and more sweet. Though I admit, I liked the first one better, even though it kind of upset my stomach a little.) Mix the honey, sugar and spices in a separate bowl until it becomes a thick gel, then spread it liberally and evenly over the pumpkin and squash meat.
  • _
  • Bake vegetables at 400F for an hour. Remove, let sit for a few moments and enjoy. The skin is edible at this point but out of sheer habit, I only eat the meat. By all rights you can scoop out the meat and mash if it you'd like as well, but I like this as-is.

Mmmm, roasted pumpkin seeds. These are rewarding to make, easy to snack on, healthy for you, and amazingly good. Pumpkin seeds are high in Iron, Protein, Omega-6 fatty acids, Potassium, Magnesium and Zinc. They also work wonders for treating depression. You can roast up the squash seeds too this way, but I didn't know that at the time so I threw them away. Oh well, something to look forward to next time! 
Spiced Roasted Pumpkin Seeds


  • 1 Pie Pumpkin worth of seeds, rinsed thoroughly
  • 2 tspns Butter
  • 1 Tbspn each: Sea salt, Chili Powder, Smoked Paprika, Brown Sugar

How to make it

  • Preheat oven to 300F.
  • Melt butter and spices in a separate pot and blend well.
  • Add to seeds and mix very well for several minutes.
  • Spread the spiced seeds on a flat baking tray and cook in 300F oven for 45 minutes or until golden brown, making sure to stir them around sometime in the middle.
  • These are best eaten warm with an extra dusting of brown sugar over them. If you're making this and the pumpkin meat in the same day, make sure to roast these up first. Once you have the oven at 400, it will take at least 2 hours for the oven to cool enough to roast anything at a lesser temperature.

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