How to Prep Your Pumpkin

Pumpkins grow in a large range of sizes, colors, and textures. They are all edible, though some are tastier than others. The smaller ones, often called pie pumpkins, are most commonly used in cooking because they are easier to handle and more flavorful than larger pumpkins. One pie pumpkin yields about 4 cups of edible product.

Here are six steps to roasting and enjoying a delicious pumpkin:

  1. Select your pumpkin, making sure the skin is tight with no soft spots. To roast, wash the pumpkin well. If the skin has been waxed, use hot water and mild dish soap to remove the wax. Towel-dry the pumpkin.
  2. Place the pumpkin on a cutting board with the stem up. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  3. Using a long sharp knife, preferably one that is longer than the pumpkin, cut the pumpkin in half.
  4. Using a metal spoon, scoop out the seeds and stringy pulp. If desired, you can wash the seeds well in a colander, dry them out on a baking sheet, toss with a little olive or vegetable oil and a pinch of salt, and roast until they are golden.
  5. Spray a large casserole dish or baking sheet with cooking spray. Place the pumpkin halves, cut side down, on the dish and roast for 30 minutes to an hour. The pumpkin flesh should be very soft when it is done.
  6. Once it is cool enough to handle, use a spoon to scoop the flesh from the skin. Place the pumpkin flesh into a bowl and mash it with a fork or puree it in a blender and it is ready to use for pie, muffins, pancakes, or soups.

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