Cooking with pumpkin
This article was originally published in October 2013
Cracking into a pumpkin and extracting the flesh can be daunting and time consuming. But the work is well worth the effort!
The fresh, sweet flavor of pumpkin is a beautiful match for both sweet and savory dishes. And it’s loaded with vitamin A and C and contains a host of phytonutrients. For cooking, select sugar pie pumpkins — our crop is grown by Rents Due Ranch, in Stanwood, Wash.
Picking out your pumpkin
Look for a deep, rich, uniform color, void of green or tan spots, and a healthy, stiff stem. Avoid pumpkins with soft spots. A 4- to 5-pound pumpkin will yield about 1 1/2 to 2 cups of pumpkin.
How to prepare your pumpkin
For diced chunks
Cut around the stem and discard it. Peel the pumpkin using a sturdy peeler and cut in half. Scrape out the seeds and reserve them for later use. Remove any stringy fibers. Cut the pumpkin into 1-inch cubes.
Cut around the stem and discard it. Scoop out the seeds and reserve them for later use. Cut the pumpkin in half and place the cut sides down on a baking sheet. Bake in a 350° F oven for 1 to 2 hours or until tender. Cool, then scoop out the flesh and purée in a food processor until smooth.
Don’t forget the seeds
Packed with nutrition, pumpkin seeds make an excellent snack on their own and add delicious crunch to salads and other dishes. After removing them from the pumpkin, rinse them and pat dry. Allow them to dry overnight. Toss with a little oil and season with salt or other spices such as cumin or garlic powder. Spread them on a baking sheet and roast at 350° F for 15 to 20 minutes, until crunchy and golden.