Archives for: November 2005, 17
The first year I was on the Blood Type Diet, I fell in love with pumpkin. My previous experience had been limited to pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving and Christmas. That first year I bought a pie pumpkin, cooked it in the pressure cooker, added pie spices but no sugar, and served it as a vegetable. It was outstanding. For the rest of the year I bought canned pumpkin. It was good, but I could hardly wait for fall when pie pumpkins would be back in the store.
Last year pumpkins came in early, about the end of September if I remember right. They were delicious, but the season was short. By mid-November they were out of the stores.
This year every store has had stacks of what were labeled pie pumpkins, but the quality has been poor. Some were stringy. Some lacked color. I've eaten them, but frankly the canned would have tasted better. I passed a display of pumpkins yesterday that looked smaller and had smoother skin. I'm beginning to think that the previous pumpkins were not pie pumpkins at all, but mislabeled decorative pumpkins.
However I had a pumpkin still at home to cook. This one had a huge number of seeds - again making me think it had been mislabeled. I decided to toast the pumpkin seeds. When my daughter was little one of her teachers had her class toast pumpkin seeds. The kids were so excited, and each brought home a little bag of toasted seeds to share with their families. I thought they were tougher than the pumpkin seeds I buy in the health food store, but I kept my opinion to myself. There was no need to dampen my daughter's enthusiasm for a newly acquired taste.
After I cooked my pumpkin in the oven, I washed and dried the seeds and put them on a cookie sheet with a little oil. I toasted them until they started to turn brown. When they cooled, I tasted them. The flavor was good, but they were so tough. I wound up with a mouth full of unchewable fiber.
Out came the cookbook (note to self - next time get out the cookbook first). It said, "Pumpkin seeds and squash seeds, like sunflower seeds must be hulled before eating." No wonder they were tough! I tried unsuccessfully to get the hulls off. Then I thought I'd put them back in the oven on a higher heat and see if the seeds would crack open on their own.
It was a good idea, but poorly implemented. After a few minutes at 425 degrees the seeds began to pop like popcorn. Flying hulls, coated in olive oil, landed on the bottom of the oven. Smoke filled the kitchen. I covered the seeds, and let them pop. I had a state-of-the-art air purifier in my home for a three-day free trial. This particular filter is not the right one for our family, but I was glad I had it today. It cleared the smoke out fast. The smoke alarm didn't even go off.
Though the hulls popped open, most of the seeds would not come free. I suspect that having been thrice cooked - first baked in the oven with the pumpkin, then toasted in their hulls until partially done, and finally toasted again at high heat that they were way too overcooked. Or it could be that pumpkin seeds in the store are a special variety.
Before I try toasting pumpkin seeds again, I will look up the proper procedure on the Internet. Before I buy another fresh pumpkin, I will grab the produce manager and get assurance that it is really a pie pumpkin.