Written by contributor Tiffany Larson.

In the spring, I made a summer “bucket list” – a list of activities I wanted to do over the summer.  It turned out to be so successful (we crossed everything off the list!) that we made a fall “bucket list”, too.  Some of the ten activities we chose to include were picking apples and pears at a local orchard, kayaking down the river to see the fall leaves, running a 5k as a family and roasting a whole pumpkin.

I adore the fall and all its pumpkin recipes but pumpkin is one of those items in my pantry that I”m trying to .  So I decided to roast a pumpkin because it”s fast and easy.

I washed it and then put a little olive oil all over the skin (coconut oil would work, too).  I put it on a silicone baking mat, on top of a cookie sheet, in the oven on 400 for about 45 minutes.  I also put a pan on the bottom rack in case there were any leaking juices, but there were hardly any.  You”ll know it”s done when you can cut into it easily, like softened butter.  Be careful when cutting for the first time – steam will come out.

Using Pumpkin Seeds

Once the pumpkin cooled, I cut it in half and used an ice cream scoop to pull out the seeds and guts (technically called fibrous strands but I like guts).  To separate out the seeds for future use, I threw everything in a strainer and used a little water to help me separate the guts into a bowl.  Make sure not to throw the guts down the sink as it can harden and clog your drain. Throw it in your compost bin or if you have chickens, you can feed the pulp to them.

I dried my seeds out overnight on a cookie sheet and then separated them into 2 batches with different seasonings to see which one my family liked better. Turns out my kids loved the super sweet one and my husband loved the spicy one.  I”ll share the recipes here:

Sugar and Spice Pumpkin Seeds
  • 1 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cloves

Spread the seasoned seeds on a parchment lined or greased baking sheet and toast for 15-20 minutes.

Curry Lime Pumpkin Seeds
  • 1 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp coriander

Spread the seasoned seeds on a parchment lined or greased baking sheet and toast for 15-20 minutes.

If you want to try something different with your seeds, I love this pumpkin seed art project or , great for a busy bag activity.  And make sure you set aside seeds for spring planting.  You can do this by drying them for several days and then wrapping them in newspaper.

Photo by meerkatbaby

Using Pumpkin Pulp

Once the seeds and guts were removed, I peeled the skin off the remaining pumpkin.  If your pumpkin”s skin isn”t soft enough, you may need to scoop the pumpkin pulp out of the skin.  I then threw the pulp into my food processor, added a little water, and made it into 4 cups of chunky pumpkin puree.

Nothing says fall like pumpkin filled recipes.  I used my pumpkin over the next couple days by making baked pumpkin oatmeal, pumpkin chocolate chip cookies and pumpkin ricotta stuffed shells. If I had any left over, I could have put it in the freezer to save for another day.

While the cost of organic canned pumpkin and buying a whole pumpkin was about the same, the process took more time than grabbing a can off the store shelf.  But, I love teaching my kids where our food comes from and knowing exactly what goes into our meals. It makes for a gratifying experience in our home.

What”s on your fall bucket list? Do you have any great pumpkin recipes to share?