How To Pick and Prepare Pumpkin
Pumpkins are not just for Halloween! Tasty and nutritious, the seeds and the flesh can be used in a variety of dishes. You can bake them, boil them, steam them or even cook them in the microwave! Pumpkin is an excellent source of fibre, antioxidants and vitamin A. Its seeds are rich in iron and protein.
How to buy pumpkins:
For cooking purposes, small pie pumpkins are your best bet. They’re easier to prepare, and much sweeter. Look for firm pumpkins with smooth orange skin that feel heavy for their size. Avoid pumpkins with bruises or spots.
(If shopping for Halloween, choose large pumpkins with thin walls to make carving easier. Look for ones with a strong stem and a round shape that will stand upright.)
How to use pumpkins:
Pumpkins are tasty in pies, muffins, cakes, breads, casseroles and soups. Pumpkin is a good substitute in any recipe that calls for butternut squash or other winter squash.
First, wash your pumpkin thoroughly. If steaming, peel it, seed it and cut into cubes. If roasting, cut your pumpkin in half and seed it. Once cooked, you can scoop the flesh from the hard outer peel and mash and puree it.
Pumpkin seeds also make a tasty and healthy snack. Wash, then spread on a baking sheet and roast in the oven until golden brown and crunchy.
How to store pumpkins:
You can keep whole pumpkins in a cool, dry spot for up to a month. Once cut, wrap your fresh pumpkin in plastic wrap and store in the fridge for up to 5 days. Cooked pumpkin can be frozen for up to 10 months.
One of our favourite pumpkin recipes is Pumpkin Butter
It is perfect for a spread on muffins and scones, or in desserts. Or get more creative and layer it in trifle, sandwich it between two cookies, or swirl it into cheesecake and brownies, it’s sure to be your new comfort food. It can also be stored in the freezer for up to 1 year. Delightful to use in the dead of winter when we want all those warm flavours.