10 Things to Know About Pumpkins
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.
4. Then prep it. Keep clicking for cooking ideas.
Step 1: Place pumpkin on a steady surface, stem side up. Use a small knife to cut around the stem, about 2 inches out.
Method 1: Basic Baked: Place halved pumpkin, cut sides down, in a 350° oven for 1 to 2 hours or until tender. Cool, then scrape out the tender flesh with a spoon; discard rind.
Method 2: Boil: Halve and peel pumpkin, then cut the flesh into uniform cubes and boil until tender, 15 to 30 minutes, depending on size of cubes.
Method 4: Roast Whole: Follow the first two prep steps on page 81 to hollow out the pumpkin. Roast in a preheated 350° oven for 1 to 2 hours or until tender. You can scoop out the flesh or use the pumpkin as a vessel for cooked rice or couscous stuffing.
9. Try pure canned pumpkin. It's easy to accidentally buy sweet, spiced pie filling. Look for the can with one ingredient: pumpkin. Advantages include consistency (a poor fresh pumpkin can be stringy or watery) and, of course, it's precooked.