Last Thursday I found myself with about 30 fresh donated pumpkins. These pumpkins are part of a produce donation from a CSA at Delaney Farms in Aurora to reach a non-profit, Project Worth More. I felt ashamed that I couldn’t think of many cooking techniques to provide to the population that was receiving the pumpkins. Much of the produce in this instance is given to families who are refuges from countries like Burma and now reside in a community within Denver. The families do not rely on baking methods to cook most meals – so finding recipes that require less oven preparation was ideal. Also, I had a goal to provide each family with guidance that would easily transfer over to their culture.
My first inclination found it ironic, that I am a nutrition student, who has never actually used fresh pumpkin in any of my baking endeavors. Look at all of the pumpkin goodness and beta-carotene I’m missing out on! Beta-carotene, as we know, is converted to Vitamin A within our bodies. Pumpkin being orange in color is high in beta-carotene.
So, when talking about pumpkin recipes, what do we think of? Muffins, bread, cookies, cupcakes, and pies! Pumpkin can actually be used in a variety of other recipes; such as soups and stews, oven bakes, pastas or hummus and purees. Roasted pumpkin wedges are much like sweet potato wedges, you can eat them as is with fresh herbs like sage or combine them with an entrée. The options are endless! When choosing a pumpkin, the general rule of thumb is to take a smaller, darker orange pumpkin that’s equivalent to 2-lbs., because it is smoother in texture.
How to prepare the pumpkin for cooking:
*It’s much like baking a squash, such as a butternut squash or spaghetti squash.
1) Cut the pumpkin in half and remove the stringy “guts,” if you want to save the seeds to roast for later munching – have at it!
2) Heat the oven to 375 degrees and place both halves face down on a baking pan. Cover each half with foil.
3) Bake for about an hour and a half or until tender. Then scoop out the “meat” and use within the recipe you are preparing. Slicing the pumpkin meat within its shell might be advantageous if you are making pumpkin wedges. Also, at this point you can also peel the outer layer off to expose the inner “meat.”
1) Same as step one above
2) Peel the pumpkin and cut into pieces – or you can slice it within the shell and separate the pieces from the shell
3) Boil until the pieces are tender
1) Same a step one in the first method
2) Microwave the halves on high for 7 minutes per pound, be sure to rotate the pieces to ensure even cooking.
After looking at what seemed like endless amounts of pumpkin recipes – I was getting inundated with orange. I settled on a Pumpkin Curry Recipe that I would bring for my demonstration to the community! The recipe is below. Within this blog entry I’ve also included more pumpkin recipes that actually use a can of pumpkin puree. A 2-lb pumpkin baked using the methods above will yield at least 15 ounces, which would be equivalent to one can of pumpkin puree. My method for finding these recipes was very simple. I searched for Foodily.com with “fresh pumpkin” within the website’s search engine. This can easily be done with virtually any recipe database. I encourage you to try a pumpkin recipe using a fresh pumpkin versus a can. If anything it’ll expand your culinary experiences!
Black-Eyed Peas and Pumpkin Salad:
Moroccan Vegetables with Almond Couscous:
Pumpkin Turkey Chili: