Monday, 22 August 2011

Pumpkin Basics

 Pumpkins are the best vegetable for me.You can get so much out of them. use them for cooking baking sweet or savory. It is also incredible how a small seed like that can grow such a huge plant.We plant a lot of pumpkins in the garden every year some for eating and some for decoration.The ones only for decorating come in a nice variety of color and shape.My personal favorite is the one that looks like a little mushroom. I always stock up of these in time for the Autumn holidays.

Pumpkins begin to ripen in September but we love to leave them outside until the first frost.That little frostbite gives them a special flavor. Because they store well, pumpkins are available all through the fall and winter.

If you are more of a cooking person make sure to choose a variety of pumpkin that's intended for cooking, rather than for decoration. The ubiquitous field pumpkin -- the kind most commonly used to carve jack-o'-lanterns -- has watery, stringy flesh and is not recommended for eating. Sugar pumpkins and cheese pumpkins are two widely available varieties that are good for cooking and baking, thanks to their dense, sweet flesh.These varieties are also available without seed coat. This makes easier to roast the seeds and no peeling at all.

Pumpkins keep well at room temperature for up to a month. Stored in a cool cellar or refrigerator, they can last up to three months. Once cut, pumpkin pieces should be wrapped tightly and refrigerated. Use cut pumpkin within five days.

There are a tonnes of recipes for pumpkins but I mostly like the simplest ones which just enhance the flavor but does not alters it. Home grown pumpkins are full of flavor as they are grown in an organic environment they are all bio as well.

Simple Roast Pumpkin
(Gluten free)


* Any size pumpkin
* 1 cup of water


Preheat oven to 240 degrees. Take any size pumpkin. Give it a nice rinse, than cut it into smaller size pieces. Place all on a tray no need for /oil or and grease/. Place a cup of cold water on the tray place it in the oven for 40-45 minutes /might be more depending on your oven/ until brownish orange.When ready remove from oven and leave it to cool.When it has cooled down just take a teaspoon and start scooping! If you are on the more luxurious side you can add some nutmeg and cream.

My gran used to take this recipe one step further where she is roasting in a Hungarian Aga.That is even more delicious as it gets a hint of smoke not a lot just a tiny bit.That adds to it a lot in flavor.
Just thinking, writing about it brings back all those nice memories, smells, first heat in the fireplace and the smell of autumn. I just cannot wait for that!!!!!

My other favorite is pumpkin soup. As this is not that well known in Hungary this is not form family tradition but from and adopted recipe from Ireland.

♥Sweet Pumpkin Soup♥
(Gluten free, Sugar free)


* 2 3/4 pounds sugar pumpkin or butternut squash, halved and seeded
* 1 onion, peeled and quartered through the stem
* 1 garlic clove, peeled
* 1/2 cup olive oil
* Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
* 5 cups homemade or store-bought low-sodium vegetable stock
* Nutmeg powder
* Xylitol


Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut pumpkin into 2-inch pieces.
Combine pumpkin, onion, and garlic on a rimmed baking sheet. Add oil and 2 teaspoons salt; toss to coat, then spread in a single layer. Roast until pumpkin is tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife, about 30 minutes, rotating pan and tossing vegetables halfway through. Let cool, then remove skins.

Transfer vegetables to a medium saucepan; heat over medium.
Pour in 2 cups stock; puree with an immersion blender until smooth. With the blender running, slowly add remaining 3 cups stock, and puree until smooth. Bring soup just to a simmer. Remove from heat, and season with salt and pepper. Cover to keep warm.Flavor with nutmeg and xylitol before serving. i like to add a nice lump of cream too.

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