Eating Pumpkins

November 7, 2007 at 5:32 pm Leave a comment

Did you know? Pumpkins are edible! And they taste pretty good, to boot.

In order to make food out of pumpkins, you usually have to do a few things:
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1. Buy sugar pumpkins, or small pumpkins that are grown for food (most of the big jack-o-lantern pumpkins that you find these days are edible, but not particularly tasty). I got these babies at the farmers market for $2 a pound.

2. Cut the pumpkin in half using a large knife (be careful – knives are sharp!).

3. Scoop out the guts of the pumpkin (the seeds and stringy stuff) with a large metal spoon. As you probably already know, you can save the seeds, coat them in salt and oil, and toss them in the oven on a cookie sheet for a few minutes as a salty, healthy snack. Before you put them in the oven, maybe try keeping a few seeds dry for the next few months, and then toss them in some dirt next spring – then you won’t have to pay for pumpkins next season.

4. Place the clean pumpkin halves in a large pot or steamer with a little water, and steam them for about 10 minutes to soften up the meat. When they’re done steaming, you’ll be able to cut off the hard outer layer of the pumpkin and chop up the pumpkin meat more easily.

Once you’ve completed these simple (and totally worthwhile) steps, you can make all sorts of delicious pumpkin treats, including sauces, curries, pies, drinks, whatever. Here are a few ways that my friends and I prepared pumkin the other night…

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1. Pumpkin Stew – this is a mexican-style stew with corn, tomatoes, spices and – you guessed it – pumpkin.

2. Pumpkin Risotto – this was a creamy, delicious risotto (we made it without the scallops, but I’m sure it would be great with them as well).

3. Fried Pumpkin – salty, greasy, amazing hush-puppy-like pumpkin treats (everything is better when fried…)

4. Pumpkin Pie – I’d never made real pumpkin pie before and I was soooo proud when it worked and came out soo tasty – definately try it out for Thanksgiving…

5. Pumpkin Vodka – I don’t really recommned this one, actually. A few weeks ago we started experimenting with infusing favorite foods in liquor (we made peanut vodka which was kind of amazing). To make flavored vodka, all you need is to chop up the fruit or vegetable or whatever you’re infusing, and put it in some vodka to rest overnight. Very easy – try it at home. I used mason jars for the pumpkin vodka, and after a good 24 hours of infusing I strained out the vodka, and made a cocktail out of it with some cinammon and brown sugar. We also tried one with kahlua and milk (pumpkin russian), but neither of them came out particularly good. I think vodka and pumpkin just don’t work well together.

Aside from the vodka failure, our pumpkin feast was a big success, and I plan on adding pumpkin to my regular shopping list until they’re no longer available at the farmers market. At that point, I’ll have to pick on some other seasonal vegetable – potatoes?

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Entry filed under: food, Uncategorized.

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