Smashing Pumpkins

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pumpkin usesPumpkin. It’s the flavor of the season, coming in all shapes and forms like pie, muffins, bread, scones, soup and ravioli. But so many pumpkin lovers go straight for the canned puree instead of using every last bit of the gourd they pick from the patch.

As you go to carve your jack-o-lantern this Halloween, remember to salvage every part of the pumpkin. First, cut off the crown of the pumpkin with a sharp serrated knife, making a large enough hole to scrape out the flesh and seeds. Then, take a large spoon and remove the innards, separating into a large mixing bowl. Rinsing the seeds and pulp under water, remove the bigger pieces of pumpkin. Fill the bowl with water, allowing the pieces of pumpkin to sink and the seeds to float to the top. Drain the seeds in a colander and let dry until you are ready to roast them.

Now for that extra pulp. Remove any stringy pieces before adding to the blender to puree. Adding spices to the pulp while in the blender is optional, depending on what you are using the puree for. Use in soups, risottos and baked goods or simply as a spread. Store in the freezer for later use.

It’s time to get creative with your hollowed orange vessel. If hosting a party, use your gourd as a punch bowl (if large enough) or a soup bowl for an autumnal presentation during dinner. If you don’t plan on eating out of it, spray the inside of the pumpkin with a sealant and display it as a decoration in your home, filled with flowers and other fall elements.

Want more pumpkin? Try this recipe for a good ol’ fashioned pumpkin pie, courtesy of All Recipes.

Perfect Pumpkin Pie

Prep Time: 15 mins Cook Time: 55 mins

1 15 oz. can pumpkin or fresh pumpkin puree
1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
2 large eggs
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp salt
1 9-inch, unbaked pie crust

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

2. Whisk pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk, eggs, spices and salt in medium bowl until smooth. Pour into crust. Bake for 15 minutes.

3. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F and continue baking for 35 to 40 minutes or until knife inserted comes out clean. Cool. Garnish as desired. Store leftovers covered in refrigerator.

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Jennifer Fauci is the managing editor of Long Island Weekly, Boulevard and Anton Media Group’s local magazines. Her passion for literature, travel and the arts lend to the unique content in her publications. In her time at Anton, she has received first place in the Folio Awards, second place for the NYPA awards and is the recipient of three PCLI awards.

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