- Fresh pumpkins are available in the fall
and winter. Some specimens have weighed in at over 100 pounds!
There are two types of pumpkins available commercially. Sugar
pumpkins are usually the smaller, deep orange variety. Field
pumpkins, also known as jack o' lanterns, are larger, a brighter
shade of orange and more suitable for carving. Although both
varieties are edible, sugar pumpkins have sweeter flesh and are
better for cooking.The flesh from the smaller ones are more tender
and less stringy than the larger variety. Pumpkin has a mild,
sweet flavor and the seeds, husked and roasted, are deliciously
- Select pumpkins that are between
five to eight pounds, free from blemishes and heavy for their
size. Store whole pumpkins at room temperature up to a month
or refrigerate up to 3 months. Pureed pumpkin is also available
canned. Pumpkin may be prepared in almost any way suitable for
winter squash. It's a good source of vitamin A.
- Pumpkin is highly perishable
and must be cooked the same day it is cut open. Otherwise, the
flesh will develop a feathery black mold. Cooked pumpkin should
be refrigerated immediately. Pureed pulp should be used within
36 hours, or freeze for later use.
- Did you know the pumpkin pie
was introduced to the holiday table at the Pilgrim's second Thanksgiving
in 1623? The new Americans found the Indians growing and using
this large and cumbersome fruit. They soon adapted it to their
households as a much loved food. In Australia and Great Britain
they have a similar pie made of pumpkin called "Gramma's
and Cooking Pumpkin for Pies
- 1. Cut off the top of the pumpkin
and scrape out all the seeds and membrane (a large metal serving
spoon works well).
- 2. Cut it into sections and
with a paring knife, cut the skin off the flesh.
- 3. Steam the flesh until tender
and puree. Do NOT boil the pumpkin in water - it will soak up
the water and make a watery pie. (See Fresh
Note: An alternative method for
dealing with the difficult task of removing the hard shell from
fresh pumpkin or squash, is to put the pumpkin in the microwave
oven for 5 minutes on high. Allow to cool a little, and then
slice it open. It will be much easier to cut. Simply remove the
seeds and membrane and proceed with cooking until tender. Use
the pulp in any recipe calling for canned or cooked pumpkin.