If you're only looking for the instructions on cooking pumpkin, either chunked or pureed, just click the link above. If not, let's continue with...
Types Of Pumpkins
There are certainly lots of varieties of pumpkins, and until I can visit some pumpkin patches and gather my own info and take photos, I shall direct you to Pumpkin-Patch.com for a list. For cooking, you should be able to find Sugar (or "sugar pie"), Small Jack, or Baby Pam pumpkins at grocery stores in the fall. You can use carving pumpkins, but they're not that great in recipes and their size makes them a pain to deal with. However, I will say, I cooked carving pumpkins for years before I discovered that there were better varieties, so really, you can do it. In fact, if you thin the walls of your pumpkin properly (see the Carving section of this site) you can end up with some pre-chunked pumpkin ready for the pot - that's how I used to do it. But if you can, use a cooking variety.
Why Use Fresh?
Why not just used canned pumpkin? There's nothing wrong with the store-bought canned packed pumpkin; in fact I'm grateful it's available. But not all of it is really pumpkin, some companies use a type of squash. I think all canned pumpkin is treated with coloring - no pumpkin flesh is truly orange. And besides that...it tastes better. It so completely does. You really need to try it if you haven't already.
Choose the heaviest one you can find - this means there is a lot of flesh in there. Check the rind: is it orange and smooth? Knock on it, you don't want a hollow-sounding one, these are dry and woody inside. Unlike pumpkins destined to be carved, the shape doesn't matter. If you're not sure how fresh the pumpkins at your market are, ask; if they are quite old the flesh will be stringy and the texture poor when cooked.
Prepare the Flesh
Yeah I know it sounds like a line from a bad horror film, but the edible part of a pumpkin is called flesh. I've put together a page outlining the steps, with photos, on how to turn a whole pumpkin into edible veggies. Using these steps you can simply make clean wedges of flesh, cooked cubed flesh, even puree, depending on how far you want to go. So, click here to learn how to prepare pumpkin.
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Site maintained by Cynthia "Sparky" Read.