Pumpkin Salsa

Still Life with Brussel Sprouts and Banana Pumpkin
Still Life with Brussel Sprouts and Banana Squash

This may or may not be my last pumpkin post of the season, but we are experiencing an unexpected pumpkin bounty here, so Pumpkin Salsa seemed like a great idea.  I was gifted with this enormous Banana Squash, along with some yellow-fleshed Acorn Squash, creamy yellow-skinned and white-fleshed Summer Squash, and some miniature decorative pumpkins.  My first thought when I saw the banana squash was “oooh, I could make some Pumpkin Salsa!”.  Then I had to think about what I meant by that.  After making a hearty Lamb and Squash Soup for dinner, I decided to experiment.

I cut off about 6″ of the end of the banana squash (herein after referred to as “the pumpkin” to differentiate it from the other squashes), peeled and seeded it, then sliced it into 1 inch wide rings.  For the salsa, I then cut about 1 cup of small diced chunks of the pumpkin and blanched them in a small pot of boiling water until they just started to get tender.  You definitely don’t want to over cook the pumpkin or it will become mush.  When they softened just enough, I took them out and shocked them in cold water to stop the cooking process.  I then proceeded to mix my other ingredients together as I would for any fresh pico de gallo or salsa fresca (non-cooked sauces).  I added my own Seasoning Salt and Fiesta Chili Powder blends, and I’ve listed the ingredients to those after the recipe below, but feel free to use whatever you have on hand.  Don’t stint on the toasted and ground cumin though, that flavor is integral.  After letting the flavors marinate for an hour or so, we have deemed the first batch of Pumpkin Salsa a huge success, and have been happily munching on it.  Good thing I got a picture before we put it in the fridge to rest!

The Banana Squash was a great choice for this, but any firm, orange-fleshed pumpkin would work.  Try it with a Hubbard, Turban, Kabocha, Butternut or other winter squash variety.

Pumpkin SalsaPumpkin Salsa

1 cup pumpkin, peeled, seeded, diced
1 cup diced fresh tomatoes
½ cup diced red pepper
¼ cup pumpkin seeds
Juice of ½ lemon and ½ lime
1 tsp toasted cumin
½ tsp seasoning salt*
½ tsp chili powder**
Splash of Tabasco

Blanch pumpkin chunks in boiling water until just tender, do not overcook. Drain and shock with cold water to stop the cooking process.
Toast cumin seeds in a hot, dry pan, then grind in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. (I like to grind it old school 😉 )
Add other ingredients and blend, adjusting to taste. Allow to rest in the refrigerator for an hour for the flavors to meld.

*Seasoning Salt – salt, pepper, garlic, paprika, parsley flakes

** Fiesta Chili Powder – ground chili pepper, cumin, dehydrated garlic, oregano, coriander, cloves, allspice

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