The round orange squash usually carved at Halloween, pumpkins also make wonderful soups, breads, and pie. In our CSA shares, we provide sugar pumpkins, which are much better for cooking and baking than their carving counterparts. Try baking it filled halfway with milk and a few spoonfuls of sugar for an instant pudding. Native Americans dried strips of pumpkin and wove them into mats. They also roasted long strips of pumpkin on the open fire and ate them. The origin of pumpkin pie occurred when the colonists sliced off the pumpkin top, removed the seeds, and filled the insides with milk, spices and honey. The pumpkin was then baked in hot ashes.
Pumpkins weighing between 4 and 8 pounds are the ideal size. If the outside looks dull, don’t fret! The only concern you should have is if the pumpkin has any bruises, or delicate soft spots. Pumpkins can also be kept for months at a time as long as they are stored at a cool temperature.
If you were hoping to cook a sugar pumpkin, but none are available, don’t purchase a carving pumpkin. The next best cooking substitute is another winter squash. Some examples include Butternut Squash, Baby Pam, Autumn Gold, Ghost Rider, New England Pie Pumpkin, Lumina, Cinderella, and Fairy Tale. Cinderella and Fairy Tale are known to have quite hard and thick skins, but the flesh inside is absolutely delectable. One last tip: Don't peel winter squash or pumpkins before roasting; it's easy to scrape the roasted flesh out afterwards.
Storing & Cooking Information
Handling: Use a cleaver or a very large knife to split the pumpkin in half or wedges. Scoop out the seeds and strings and discard.
Storing: Pumpkins should be stored in a cool, dry place. It will last at room temp for weeks and at 40-50 degrees for several months. If cut open, put in fridge.