If you give me a choice between sweet potato and pumpkin, I’ll choose sweet potatoes any day. They’re easy to prepare and every bit as versatile as a pumpkin. Pumpkins, on the other hand, take sharp knives, leverage, and application of the muscle you’ve been building in the gym.

Nutritionally speaking, they’re loaded with beta-carotene, potassium, and vitamins A, C and E. They’re rich in anti-oxidants and flavonoids. They’re low calorie, high fiber. The seeds themselves are nutritional powerhouses, and THOSE I have addictions to. They’re great for snacking on as well as garnishes. Overall, pumpkins are great for heart and immune system health, and may help prevent certain kinds of cancers and eye diseases.

Whole sugar pie pumpkins.
Whole sugar pie pumpkins.

That said, Halloween is this weekend. Pumpkins are everywhere! I picked up a few sugar pie pumpkins from the grocery store and begin experimenting. I didn’t want to just go the traditional pie route, although pumpkin is pretty much always better roasted. I knew that having my OWN pumpkin puree on hand would be great. (It always tastes superior to what you can get canned.) Plus, pumpkin seeds. Mmm. Can you say bike snacks?

Today is the first day of Pumpkinpalooza: the Massacre. I chose two of the three victims, roughly 3.5 pounds each. While the butchering ensued, I made sure a pan was lined with foil and the oven pre-heated to 350.

First I sliced off their heads… I mean stems.

Then I chopped them in half.

Halved & beheaded pumpkins.
Halved & beheaded pumpkins.

And scooped out their guts.

Pumpkins ready to roast.
Pumpkins ready to roast.

45 minutes later, I pulled them out of them oven and stabbed each of them to make sure they were nice and tender. Success!

Roasted pumpkin goodness.
Roasted pumpkin goodness.

Roasting made the skin nice and easy to remove, although next time I may peel them first. Into the Vitamix they went, to be pureed into a delicious five cups worth of puree. You get to wait until Thursday to find out what I did with the first half.

Five cups of fresh, organic pumpkin puree.
Five cups of fresh, organic pumpkin puree.

While the first two were roasting, I prepped and peeled my third victim. My verdict? The ultra-sharp, thin blade utility knife was the ideal skinning selection. My vegetable peeler just wasn’t up to par although it will do in a pinch. What lies in store for this final sacrifice? Find out on Wednesday.

Raw, skinned pumpkin.
Raw, skinned pumpkin and weapons of peeling.

Why the wait? Because tomorrow is all about the tasty, tasty seeds.

Raw pumpkin seeds.
Raw pumpkin seeds.
~Jeri