10 Things to Know About Pumpkins

Put those pumpkins to work in the kitchen in no time with these tips. Because there is more to this squash than meets the eye.

Selecting A Pumpkin for Cooking
Photo: Randy Mayor

More Than Decoration

1. Beyond the jack-o’-lantern, dinner. Most pumpkins are carved or canned. They end up as ghouls or pies. But pumpkin is squash, squash is healthy and tasty, and this particular squash has a rich, sweet, fresh flavor that lends itself to soups, stews, risottos, or a simple mash—made sweet with butter, maple syrup, and nutmeg or savory with browned butter, sage, and grated Parmesan.

2. That said, carving pumpkins are not really eating pumpkins. Small, thinner-skinned eating varieties are grown for sweetness and flavor that the more fibrous jack-o'-lantern pumpkins lack. So if you're cooking fresh rather than canned, look for varieties like Small Sugar, New England Pie, and Long Island Cheese (which got its name from its wheel-of-curds shape and cooks beautifully). Sure, you can eat the carving kind, but it will taste more like potato than pumpkin.

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