It’s Halloween time again and zillions of pumpkins are going to be carved, just to end up in the trash few days later. Why not eating your jack-o’-lantern this year?
While some particular meaty varieties of pumpkins are specifically grown to be eaten, any commonly available pumpkin is perfectly edible as well. Best of all, at Halloween (and immediately after) you can easily buy them very cheap. So, why not pick up a couple extra just to eat? By the way, if you’re buying a pumpkin specifically for eating, the smaller ones are usually the best. If you’re going to use it as a jack-o’-lantern as well, you can eat or freeze some of the meat when you carve it. Here’s how:
First of all remove the seeds, rinse them in water to get rid of the stringy inner membrane, and dry them out a little on a towel. You can then season them with your favourite spice and bake them on a lightly oiled cookie sheet (single layer thick) in a 300°F/150°C oven for about 45 minutes, stirring every 15-20 minutes.
Alternatively, cook them in a spray-oiled skillet over medium heat on the stove top, stirring and shaking constantly. On the stove top, they’ll be toasted nicely brown in only about 5 minutes. At the end, add a little salt. Store in air-tight containers.
And what about the pulp? Using a large spoon or other sharp-edged instrument, scrape and scoop the pulp from inside the pumpkin, working it down about 2 cm (1 inch) or so, to the whitish-colored layer beneath the skin. This will leave you with the outer shell to carve as a jack-o’-lantern. Once you’ve extracted the pulp, steam it over a pot of water until it’s tender (about 30 minutes or more). Run it through a food processor to puree or mash by hand, then freeze it in plastic bags or containers to use later in your favourite recipes.
Here are my favourite pumpkin recipes: