Around the Autumn holidays, I feel like I can not have enough pumpkins. Some for carving, some for decorating, some for painting, and ALL for eating when finished. Pumpkin is loaded with Vitamin A, it is high in fiber, low in calories and you can add it to almost any different kind of food due to its mild flavor.
Ever since I was a kid, my mom and grandma would take our leftover Halloween pumpkins and grate them up for making pots and pots of delicious pumpkin soup. There are lots of posts on the internet about cooking up pumpkins and most of them insist that pie pumpkins are the only ones that are edible. Pie pumpkins are meant to have sweet flesh that blends very smooth. “Field” pumpkins, which are the big ones bred to be good jack-o-lanterns are said to be stringy with lots of seeds.
In my experience, there is no difference in taste and flavor from one pumpkin to the next. Larger pumpkins seem like they would be more difficult to deal with than the smaller pie pumpkins but I tend to disagree.
“Field” pumpkins Pie Pumpkins
- larger, more puree smaller, less puree
- skin easy to cut incredible difficult to cut
- lots of seeds same
The skin of the pie pumpkin was so hard it was like cracking rock so all the time I saved for it being smaller was not worth the extra effort.
To get loads of pumpkin puree for your next baking project, cut open a pumpkin of your choice and scoop out the “guts”. Save or discard the seeds depending on whether you will want to eat them or not. At this point, you have 2 options. The first is for when using a small pumpkin, place both halves cut side down in a shallow baking pan with an inch of water and bake in a 350 degree oven for roughly 40 minutes or until you can poke the flesh easily with a fork. If using a large pumpkin that will not fit easily in a shallow baking pan cut the pumpkin into smaller, more manageable chunks and using a vegetable peeler or sharp knife cut off the outermost skin. Cut the flesh into chunks and add to a pot of boiling water until soft. Puree the water and pumpkin. This mixture will have more water than traditional canned pumpkin but a few hours in a crock pot with the lid partially off will help to boil out all the remaining water. Section off the puree and freeze into smaller portions to be used at later dates.