Cooking with pumpkin

PCC Taste | October 2013

pumpkin puree

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 Rent's 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.

For purée

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.


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