by Erin MacGregor, RD howtoeat.ca
Preparing homemade pumpkin purée is a great way to get kids involved in the kitchen. They can seed, scoop out the flesh, and help purée and flavour the seeds for roasting. Bonus: They’re much more likely to try it if they’re involved in preparing it!
Thai Pumpkin Soup with Spiced Pumpkin Seeds
Homemade Pumpkin Purée
- 1 pie pumpkin (at least 3 lbs)
- 1 Tbsp canola oil
- 2 tsp brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1 1/2 cups fresh pumpkin seeds, rinsed and well dried, seeds from 1 pie pumpkin
- 1 Tbsp canola oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger (about 1 inch piece)
- 1 Tbsp red Thai curry paste
- 1 can (400 mL) coconut milk
- 2 cup pumpkin purée (canned or homemade)
- 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
- 1 Tbsp fish sauce
- 1 Tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tsp fresh lime juice
- Pumpkin Purée: Cut pumpkin in half from top to bottom. Scoop out pumpkin innards, removing seeds as you go. Rinse seeds and set aside on a clean towel to dry. Place pumpkin halves cut side down in a microwave safe dish and cover with plastic wrap. Microwave on high for 10-12 minutes. Allow pumpkin to cool enough to handle, scoop out flesh and transfer to a food processor or blender. Process until smooth, scraping down the sides of the processor as needed.
- Pumpkin Seeds: Preheat oven to 300°F (150°C). In a small bowl, whisk together oil, sugar, salt and cayenne pepper. Add pumpkin seeds and toss to coat. Transfer to a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake for 30-35 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.
- Soup: In a large pot, over medium heat, add canola oil and onions and sauté for 5 minutes until softened. Add garlic, ginger and curry paste. Sauté for 30 more seconds.
- Add coconut milk, pumpkin purée, chicken broth, fish sauce and brown sugar. Stir until well combined. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Using a handheld immersion blender, purée the soup or transfer to a blender and purée in small batches. Return to the saucepan to reheat, if needed. Add lime juice. Garnish individual bowls with spiced pumpkin seeds.
More About Pumpkins
Creatively carved pumpkins are a staple on many doorsteps on Halloween. While most pumpkins are sold fresh, a small amount are processed into things like canned pumpkin pie mixes and purées that are a vital component to some fall favourite recipes. While the majority of pumpkins in Canada are grown in Ontario and Quebec, they are also grown in other regions, including British Columbia.
Like most crops, pumpkins are susceptible to attacks from pests. Fungicides play an important role in protecting pumpkins from a wide range of fungal diseases, including powdery mildew, downy mildew, gummy stem blight and Phythophthora fruit and crown rot. And insecticides protect pumpkins against insects like squash bugs and cucumber beetles.
Fortunately, most of us don’t have any trouble finding a wide selection of pumpkins to choose from when fall rolls around and that’s because farmers use pest control products to protect their crops. Without those tools, farmers would grow 60 percent fewer pumpkins which would be a real shame for both pumpkin carvers and dessert lovers alike!