Pumpkin can be cooked and served as a hot vegetable.
pumpkin is a term that can be applied to almost hard-skinned squash. In the United States, the name pumpkin commonly means a large rounded orange squash.
Pumpkins can be very large or small; the best pumpkins for cooking should weigh about 4 to 6 pounds. Mid-autumn is pumpkin harvest time. Pumpkins that mature in cold (not freezing) weather will be sweeter and more flavorful than pumpkin that matures in warmer areas.
How to Choose a Pumpkin
- Select a pumpkin that is bright-colored, firm, and unblemished.
How to Store Pumpkin
- Keep a pumpkin in a cool, dry place away from frost until you are ready to use it.
- Pumpkins should be used within 1 month of harvest.
How to Prep a Pumpkin for Cooking
- When you are ready to cook, use a large knife to halve or quarter the pumpkin then scoop out the seeds and stringy portion. Then cut the halves or quarters into smaller pieces.
- Three pounds of raw pumpkin will make 3 cups cooked, mashed pumpkin.
How to Steam Pumpkin
- Cut the pumpkin from top to bottom into quarters and then slices.
- Discard seeds and strings.
- Bring one inch of lightly salted water to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat.
- Heat the cut-up pumpkin to boiling.
- Reduce the heat to low; cover and simmer 25 to 30 minutes or until tender.
- Drain; cool slightly; remove the peel, and mash.
How to Bake Pumpkin
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
- Cut the pumpkin from top to bottom into quarters and then slices 1½ inches thick.
- Discard seeds and strings.
- Combine a tablespoon of canola oil with 2 tablespoons of fresh-squeezed lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of brown sugar, and two pinches of cinnamon.
- Brush the mixture on the pumpkin slices.
- Bake for 25 minutes; turn the slices and brush with the mixture again.
- Bake an additional 20 to 30 minutes then brown the slices under the broiler if you like.
How to Roast Pumpkin
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Cut the pumpkin from top to bottom into quarters and then slices ½ to 1½ inches thick.
- Put 2 teaspoons of olive oil or melted butter on the bottom of a roasting pan.
- Arrange the pumpkin slices in one layer on the pan.
- Sprinkle with sale and pepper to taste and lightly drizzle with olive oil.
- Roast without turning until the pumpkin is tender about 20 to 30 minutes.
- Serve hot or warm.
How to Roast Half a Pumpkin
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Cut the pumpkin in half.
- Place the pumpkin half on a rimmed baking sheet or shallow roasting pan.
- Roast undisturbed for at least 30 minutes.
- When the sides start to soften and collapse, turn it over to ensure even cooking.
- Continue roasting until deeply colored and soft, about 45 minutes
- Serve hot or tightly cover and refrigerate and use within a few days.
How to Panfry Pumpkin
- Peel and seed about 2 pounds of pumpkin and cut into large chunks.
- Put ¼ cup canola oil in a deep pot with a tight-fitting lid.
- Heat the oil over medium-high heat.
- Add the pumpkin but do not overcrowd the pot; cook in batches if necessary.
- Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
- Cook until the pumpkin slices are brown, about 5 minutes or so. Then turn and cook the other sides for about 5 minutes or so. Add oil if necessary to keep the pumpkin from sticking.
Pumpkin Flavor Partners
- Season pumpkin with allspice, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, or nutmeg.
Get to Know Pumpkins
- Grow small pumpkins (varieties that weigh 4 to 6 pounds at maturity) for cooking; grow intermediate and large sizes for cooking and for making jack-o’-lanterns; grow extra-large pumpkins for an exhibition.
- Pumpkins will be ready for harvest 95 to 120 days after sowing depending on the variety.
- Pick pumpkins when they are deeply colored–deep orange or golden white–and stems and vines have dried and turned brown.
- The rind should be hard, not easily penetrated by a fingernail.
- Thump maturing pumpkins; a ripe pumpkin will sound hollow when thumped.
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