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Does anyone just cook pumpkin like the squash it is?

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  • Does anyone just cook pumpkin like the squash it is?

    I have a lovely, small (~5 lbs), "pie pumpkin" from our CSA...and I am curious about why I don't ever hear of folks doing anything with pumpkin except either make it into a pie or pumpkin soup. My 'bottom line' never needs more pie, and I don't much care for pumpkin soup (too rich, the ones I've had were made with cream). But I LOVE baked squash of any kind.

    Does anyone ever just roast pumpkin slices & eat it like the squash it is? I'm really curious but don't want to waste a lovely pumpkin to find out why I never hear of people eating them that way.

    Any ideas on how to cook this little pie pumpkin in a main-course dish would be appreciated, thanks!

  • #2
    I ran across this idea the other day (love the Taste of Home site)

    "In October, pumpkins are usually very inexpensive. I like to take advantage of this by purchasing several pumpkins and seeding and slicing them. I cook the slices in my pressure cooker until soft. When cool, I discard the skins and fill freezer containers with the cooked pumpkin. By storing the pumpkin in the freezer, it is readily available for making casseroles, side dishes and pies. —Ruth Bullock, Priest River, Idaho"

    Better Homes & Garden has a nice slideshow presentation thank includes Bread, Cream Cheese Spread, and Marmalade. Haven't finished looking through it yet but I have been wondering what else people do with the vegetable besides, soup, pie, and Jack O Lanterns.

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    • #3
      FWIW, you can eat Halloween pumpkins just like any other squash, but usually their flesh is watery, stringy, and of poor quality. They've been selected too long for size and fast growth, and not enough for eating quality.

      There are a few dual-purpose types, but the commercial pumpkins aren't usually these. This year might have been an exception, due to a pumpkin shortage. I dunno if that was local or nationwide. If your "pie pumpkin" is a dual-purpose type, then by all means roast it like any other squash. Don't be surprised if it's a bit more watery than most other types though.

      One use we put our jack-o-lanterns to is we save the seed, roast it, and eat it. They often have fairly decent seeds to compensate for the poor flesh quality.

      "Pumpkin pie" is made from the flesh of "neck pumpkins", which are like big, elongated butternuts. They are moschata types, whereas Jack-o-lanterns are pepos.

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      • #4
        smwlindy, this is why I just grow winter squash, I feel exactly like you do. It tastes better, and you can replace any "pumpkin" in any recipe with it.

        Americanmutt, I do exactly what you except with hubbards, pick the right hubbard and they give you more and better tasting flesh.

        One of my wife's top two favorite soups is a apple/butternut(or whatever winter I have)/ curry soup. For about every four butternuts I use one onion and four apples and 4-5 teaspoons of curry. Do nothing except for saute onions in butterwith curry, then add stock, squash and apples. Simmer for 25 minutes, run the solids through a food processor while reserving the liquids(only add some to help the blending) and then add however much more reserved liquid you need to get the consistency you like. It freezes very well, and you commit yourself to a few hours of cooking and make a couple gallons for freezing.

        Makes great baby food too, they dont seem to mind the curry.
        Last edited by beehappy; 11-05-2009, 05:43 AM. Reason: forgot one step

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        • #5
          Hi beehappy, yeah I grow hubbards too, I just love them. Awesome idea for the soup...I don't see why that couldn't be done with pumpkin...and it will be done this weekend!
          I like americanmutt's link to BH&G! Although Better Homes & Gardens was mostly what I expect from them (sugar, sugar & more sugar)...there was a New World Pumpkin Chili recipe that I will try tomorrow. Thanks!

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          • #6
            My source of the recipe used apple juice in the very end, I never found it necessary if you use tasty apples.

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            • #7
              Oh I love pumpkin but I don't eat the jack 'o' lantern kind and don't like stringy ones. I grow varieties that have lots of solid sweet flesh/meat to them. Growing Marina di Chioggia variety this year to try it and I grow some local Aussie types. I cook them in various ways:

              *steamed slices/pieces, then when done served with a daub of butter and sprinkled with garlic salt (or just plain steamed).

              * boiled with potatoes and mashed together, mmmm (great topping for mince dishes like shepherds pie etc.).

              * mashed on their own, yummy with some parsley added, cracked black pepper etc.

              * roasted - I toss chunks (leave the skin on so they don't fall apart) in olive oil and either roast as is or sprinkle with some garlic/herb salt and roast. We eat them with our roast dinners and I always do extra and use the left over to make roast pumpkin soup.

              *roast a tray and make into roast pumpkin soup - simply drop roasted (de-skinned) pieces into about 8 cups of chicken stock, add a diced onion and some dried parsley, cracked black pepper and cook for about 45 mins. Once done, add rock salt if you like, and I use a stick blender to puree mine. (I do not serve it with cream.)

              * vegetable curry - I always add chunks of pumpkin.

              * stir fries - I cut it julienne and add in.

              *casseroles, soups and stews (nice chicken casserole if you simply use onion, potatoes and pumpkin, season and stir a little cream through prior to serving).

              *fries - some people slice pumpkin into steak fry size and cook them same as you do potato ones.

              My DH is American, it's only in the last couple of years he has become used to eating them as a vegetable and as an every day food item, now he loves them. My daughter loves pumpkin too, in Australia it's an everyday ingredient and not very often is it cooked as dessert!

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              • #8
                Those are great ideas! I actually tried squash fries (sunshine squash) on Saturday and they were really good. I like your idea of mashing pumpkin with potatoes too--will try that tonight since I already had mashed potatoes planned. Then will work my way through the other ideas as well.

                By the way, the pumpkin chili was a complete success, we really liked it (omitted the cranberries though, I just couldn't wrap my mind around that ) !
                Thanks everyone!

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                • #9
                  I love pumpkin as a vegetable, it's one of my favourites. BTW you don't have to roast it to make soup, you can just peel it, chop into chunks and simmer in a little water or broth with an onion, (at it's barest, you can also add a celery stick, carrot - eg if your pumpkin is pale looking add a carrot to make it more orange colour etc). Puree and thin with milk or stock to the desired consistency. Flavour the soup (while it's simmering by either going savoury - pinch of your favourite herb eg thyme, marjoram, basil or fresh parsley or chives or go for a sweeter, spicier taste and use spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger. Or you could make it extra spicier by using curry powder. A dollop of sour cream, cream or yoghurt to finish makes a nice touch. I'm sure that roasting the pumpkin first would give it an extra depth of flavour but if you don't have time, you can still make the soup.

                  I also like this recipe for pumpkin and chestnut soup. It is easy to make, the only fiddly part is shelling the chestnuts. It's a richer soup and different in taste and texture to the straight puree. I like to make it when the chestnuts come into season in autumn as a treat (they are expensive! )

                  http://www.chestnutsaustralia.com.au...pkin-soup.html
                  You can use vegetable stock in place of the chicken and the cream/chives is optional. The website where this recipe came from does give instructions on shelling chestnuts, I have found microwaving them to be the easiest (never got the hang of doing them in the oven). Beware of burning your fingers tho!

                  Pumpkin can also be turned into a dip for raw vegie sticks, crackers, pita bread etc. I don't have a recipe and most of them online seem to be for these sweet concoctions. Anyway I've eaten a savoury version which was pretty basic, pureed pumpkin, probably cooked first with some onion/garlic and flavoured with say cumin, cayenne. It was a middle easten style dip.

                  Cubes of roast pumpkin can be used in salads. Cafes in Australian cities will often have this on their menu, the pumpkin is usually tossed with mixed salad greens, rocket, chickpeas, chunks of chicken, cherry tomatoes, pinenuts, etc and an olive oil vinaigrette dressing but there are tons of recipes for using pumpkin in a salad on the internet.

                  Hope they give you some inspiration for cooking this wonderful vegetable.

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                  • #10
                    Hi, and welcome to the Forum!

                    Yes, these recipes & ideas have given me wonderful new appreciation for pumpkin and I use it a bunch now. I keep chunks of pumpkin and bags of mashed pumpkin in the freezer and have been using it for everything from giving more flavor to mashed potatoes to roasting to stews & chilis. I find it interesting that most US recipes focus on pairing pumpkin with sugar but it is delightful in its own right.

                    Now I really have to try that pumpkin dip~~it sounds great! Definitely will try roast pumpkin in salad. I caved in & bought fresh spinach twice this Winter, but am going to plant some arugula tonight & see what happens if I keep it indoors in a window box. Living & eating locally in Minnesota does limit fresh greens somewhat during the Winter, and I love fresh greens! Thank goodness for kale.

                    Thanks for the ideas!

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by smwlindy View Post
                      Living & eating locally in Minnesota does limit fresh greens somewhat during the Winter, and I love fresh greens! Thank goodness for kale.

                      Thanks for the ideas!
                      Your Kale has lived through our winter so far?!?!

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                      • #12
                        Hi Tom!
                        Yes, the kale (Winter Red & Winterbor) we have in a small cold frame is still kicking. It isn't actually growing much but it is definitely still alive. What has managed to grow enough to harvest has been very sweet & tender--great for salad greens.

                        I am hopeful that the sunshine we're getting today will incite more growth, I miss regular salads!
                        Susan

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                        • #13
                          I have not gone the cold frame way just because I did not think with -25 there was much that would survive in that. Though we have had a bit of insulating snow around everything.

                          Have any seed from those two you could share? I am not familiar with either (though I suppose I could look around)

                          Tom

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                          • #14
                            I think we have seed left...will have to check & see what we have but if we have some I'll be glad to share! I'll send a PM when I have a minute to check...

                            The amazing thing is that the cold frame has been 40-50 degrees inside on a sunny day though outside temps have only been single digits.

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                            • #15
                              Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies???????????
                              Squash Chocolate Chip Cookies???????????????

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