On Wednesday night we had our annual pumpkin carving party. We’ve been hosting one each year since we moved away from Seattle where our friends Van and Tracy always had a great party. James has adopted Van’s recipe for Hot-Buttered Rum. This year, the party almost didn’t happen because we’ve had a shortage of pumpkins! Getting anything from the lower-48 to Alaska is a challenge, but big heavy fresh vegetables are probably one of the harder things to get here on time. We found a few on sale over the weekend for $1.00 per pound, but by Monday morning the town was fresh out and some folks we’d invited hadn’t gotten their pumpkins yet. Luckily most of our guests had planned ahead and were ready for Wednesday night.
We transform my laundry (and yarn storage) room into carving central–there’s a formica table in there and concrete floors, so it’s a great place to make a big mess.
I usually avoid the actual carving and sometimes convince James to carve a pumpkin of my own design. This year, I was too involved in salvaging and roasting the pumpkin seeds. With the help of many friends we liberated the seeds from the pulp of all the pumpkins being carved and set about roasting them. Once we started, we were full of ideas for various flavorings–wasabi, Italian seasoning, cocoa powder. But we settled on plain salted seeds and cinnamon sugar. The cinnamon sugared seeds were a big hit.
To make them, rinse pumpkin seeds in a mesh strainer to get off any sticky pumpkin pulp. Shake off any excess water, then spread them on an oiled baking sheet in one even layer. Coat the seeds in a tablespoon or two of vegetable oil, then mix together 1/4 c. cinnamon, 1/4 cup sugar and 1 T sea salt (more or less depending on how many seeds you have). Coat the seeds with the spice mixture and bake at 400 degrees until everything is crispy. You can adjust the salt and sugar after cooking while the seeds are still hot and the additions should still stick to the seeds. Cool on a paper towel and store in a sealed dry container.
One of the carvers took all the pulp and said he was going to make it into a pie like his grandmother always did. I’d only ever heard of using the flesh of the pumpkin, not the pulp–how about you? Have you ever made anything with pumpkin “guts?”