We had a “bumper crop” of pumpkins this year. Not wanting to waste these nutritious vegetables and needing to include more vegetables in our diets, I’ve been experimenting with produce (such as the orange and white pumpkins) from the garden. I’ve come up with some great recipes (other than pumpkin pie) for both humans and dogs. But before you use pumpkin, a little preparation know-how is involved. Preparation is really quite simple and worth the effort. You’ll get many delicious meals from this beautiful vegetable.
Before you comment that the pumpkin is really a fruit, squash, or a gourd, I checked it out. Using Webster’s Dictionary, the correct answer is-all of them; fruit, vegetable, squash, and gourd. Technically, all of the descriptions fit the pumpkin in some way.
Getting back to preparing the pumpkin, the easiest way to cook a pumpkin is to first wash it well. Lay the pumpkin on its side and cut it across. Scoop out the seeds. I use an ice cream scooper to do this. Lay the half-pumpkin cut side down on a piece of aluminum foil on a cookie sheet. Bake at 350º for about an hour or until it is tender when pierced with a fork.
Let cool a few minutes then scoop our the “meat” of the pumpkin, leaving the shell for the compost bin. Mash the pumpkin, adding a little salt and pepper and butter if you wish. It is really delicious like this; similar to baked hubbard squash. A great winter side-dish.
Another easy-to-prepare roasted pumpkin dish requires peeling it first. Now this is no easy task. You need a good, sharp, vegetable peeler. I didn’t have one. So I went looking. On Amazon, I found a peeler/julienne that I also use for zucchini spaghetti, that easily tackles this chore. It’s called Firstchefpro Ultra Sharp Dual Julienne Peeler & Vegetable Peeler, Stainless Steel. This little guy is extremely sharp and works well on any kind of squash. It take off the tough peel of a pumpkin in a jiffy, and that was what I was looking for.
After peeling the pumpkin cut into 1 – 1 ½ inch pieces. Put in bowl.
2 Tbls. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
Spread out on a foil lined cookie sheet and roast for 1 hr. at 350º.
Sprinkled with pepper and a few herbs or even cinnamon, this makes a lovely side dish. It is also easy to freeze and can be brought out and warmed as needed. You can also puree these chunks in a blender or food processor and use the puree in pie or custard.
Don’t throw those unwanted pumpkins away. They can provide yellow vegetables for you and your family year-around.