Even though I’ve carved pumpkins for almost every year of my life I’ve never actually eaten one. When I was younger I just assumed that because of the awful smell and the fibrous goo inside of them that they just weren’t edible. As I got older I just assumed it was an American Thanksgiving thing but now. However, like most American traditions, they eventually make their way across the pond. It started with pumpkin spice lattes but now it’s being used in everything from curries to cakes, pies, brownies and even my overnight oats.
With it’s high water content, low calorie count, abundance of nutrients including beta-carotene (which is needed to make vitamin A) and surprisingly mild flavour it’s perfect for use in cooking. Considering how strong the smell is when uncooked, after cooking the taste is surprisingly mild. It just kind of soaks up whatever other flavours or seasonings you add to it – which is why pumpkin pie is so popular as it just absorbs the flavour from the cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and other spices.
Pumpkins are also relatively inexpensive, especially after Halloween so if you want to have a go at cooking one it won’t break the bank even if you don’t like it. For some ideas check out my sweet and savoury roasted pumpkin seeds (which you can make even if you’re just planning on carving a pumpkin), pumpkin spice oats and pumpkin pie. Any leftovers you might have would also be lovely in a soup or curry. Making the puree does take a while but the good thing about it is that it can be stored in the freezer for a few weeks once made. One pumpkin also yields a lot of end product – I’ve got two bags of it stowed away in the freezer.
What you’ll need:
- 1 pumpkin
- a sharp knife
- baking tray
- Cut your pumpkin lengthwise and remove the stalk and base
2. Scoop out the fibres and seeds with a metal spoon.
3. If you want to make some roasted seeds then save them. Do this by placing the seeds and fibres in bowl of water. The seeds will rise to the top and just scoop them out with a spoon.
4. Lay the pumpkin on a baking tray and cover with tinfoil. (I only sliced my pumpkin in half but I would advise maybe cutting it in quarters to speed up cooking time).
5. Place in a pre-heated oven at about 160C.
6. Cooking time will vary, mine took over an hour. The pumpkin is ready when you can stick a knife through the pumpkin with relative ease (I turned mine over and removed the tinfoil after 1 hour).
7. Remove from the oven, and allow to cool for about 10-15 minutes.
8. Remove the skin, either by simply pulling it off with your fingers (if it’s not coming off that easily then it mightn’t be cooked enough) or using a spoon and sliding it under the skin.
9. Chop the pumpkin flesh up into chunks and if you want to make a puree just blend it in batches in a nutri-bullet until smooth.
From this point you can go on to use it in my pumpkin pie or pumpkin spice oats. You could also used it in curries or soups. If you’ve saved the seeds then make sure to check out my sweet and savoury roasted pumpkin seeds.