A seasonal vegetable that brightens up the months of October and November with its beautiful orange globes. Pumpkin is a favourite for fall pies, Thanksgiving table settings in the autumn as well as Jack O’ Lanterns for harvest celebrations. It’s a winter squash that cultivates an orange outer skin with a sweet golden inner flesh.
The name ‘pumpkin’ has become a generic name for any winter squash that is round in shape, usually ridged, and bright orange in colour, and are composed of 80% to 90% water.
Most often available in late September through October.
Very large pumpkins are best reserved for the fun of carving and decorating:
Jack O Lantern Preparation & Basic Carving Instructions Regardless of design, a Jack O’ Lantern requires specific preparation steps. It is only after this that you begin carving simple or complexed look.
Pumpkin Decorating For a completely original Jack-O-Lantern, transfer a pattern onto the pumpkin before carving. See how you can use vegetables for some decorating fun too!
For Eating The smaller sizes are more tender, sweet, and juicy. However, the palm-sized variety is for ornamental purposes only. Choose pumpkins that are an even-coloured bright orange with thick smooth skin. A stem should be firmly attached to ensure that no rotting has begun. It’s a good idea to consider weight as well – select those that feel firm and heavy for their size. No blemishes or mouldy patches, rough or wrinkled skin, or broken, cracked and soft spots should be visible.
Keep at room temperature for up to one week or can be stored for 1 to 2 months in a cool dry area, like a garage. Do not refrigerate whole pumpkins. Once cut, however, the pieces should be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for no longer than a week.
Cut in half, remove seeds and fibres. Bake individual halves or cut in chunks and boil or steam. Serve cubed, mashed or as a pumpkin pie.
The sweet flesh of this vegetable is meant to be celebrated when eaten. For a simple start, substitute sweet pumpkins in any recipe that calls for winter squash or sweet potatoes. The possibilities are endless:
- Usually baked whole or cut in half (at 325 or 350 for an hour or so) with the seeds scooped out
- Made into cakes, breads, muffins, custards, and – you guessed it pumpkin pie
- Diced and steamed and mixed with fruits, such as apples, pears, or rhubarb; used in pot pies, soufflés, salads, stuffing, and soups
- Sauté or steam them as a side vegetable (even mix up a couple different kinds of Winter Squash)
- Boil to make a delicious creamy soup
- Combined with grains for a delicious savory casserole.
Freshly Cooked Pumpkin Purée
- One pound of pumpkin will make one cup of purée
- Split pumpkin in half and remove seeds and pulp
- Place the rind side down on a greased roasting pan, seal with foil, and bake for 75 minutes in a 325°F oven
- Remove foil and bake an additional 30 to 45 minutes to remove moisture from the flesh. Test by pressing firmly with the back of a spoon. Remove from oven. Let cool
- Scrape flesh from rind and mash
- Purée in a food processor
- Store one-cup portions in freezer bags or containers for 3 months to a year. Simply thaw and blend into your favourite recipe
Cooking Tip For recipes, 1 pound of fresh pumpkin meat equals 2 cups cooked pumpkin; 1 cup of puréed; 2 cups of cubes; or 3-1/2 cups of freshly grated pumpkin meat.
How to Roast Pumpkin Seeds
- Preheat oven to 300º F. Separate the seeds from the pumpkin strings. Wash seeds thoroughly to ensure complete separation from pumpkin strings that should be discarded
- Blend seeds with oil (1 cup of seeds requires 1 Tbsp vegetable oil)
- Distribute oiled seeds in a single layer onto an ungreased cookie sheet
- Sprinkle desired amount of sea salt onto seeds (1 cup of seeds requires ½ – 1 tsp. of salt)
- Bake until browned, approximately 45 – 55 minutes. Stir/shake in 5-10 minute intervals to prevent burning
- Serve as a snack or add to salad or soup for added crunch
- Storage: If pumpkin seeds are not devoured within 1-2 days, refrigerate in an air tight container. When refrigerated, expect the seeds to last for one to two months at peak freshness.
Low in calories and high in beta-carotene, an antioxidant that your body uses as vitamin A. This variety of winter squash also provides protein, complex carbohydrates, vitamin C, and potassium.
Pumpkin (cooked, boiled, drained with salt), 1 cup (245g)
Total Fat: 0.17g
*Foods that are an “excellent source” of a particular nutrient provide 20% or more of the Recommended Daily Value, based upon United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) guidelines. Foods that are a “good source” of a particular nutrient provide between 10 and 20% of the USDA Recommended Daily Value. Nutritional information and daily nutritional guidelines may vary in different countries. Please consult the appropriate organization in your country for specific nutritional values and the recommended daily guidelines.
- Pumpkins are not vegetables; they are fruit! Technically anyway, since their seeds are on the inside, similar to cucumbers and melons.
- The sizes of pumpkins can range from very small to extremely large weighing close to 1000 lbs. The larger ones are generally grown only for size competitions and are not used as a food.
- The largest pumpkin pie ever baked was over five feet in diameter and weighed over 350 pounds. It used 80 pounds of cooked pumpkin, 36 pounds of sugar, 12 dozen eggs and took six hours in the oven.