A type of gourd, pumpkins have a mildly
sweet orange flesh and seeds, or pepitas, that taste wonderfully nutty
when roasted. Prepare them any way you would prepare other winter
squash. The best cooking pumpkins are the small ones developed for pie
making, called pie pumpkins or sugar pumpkins. There are also excellent
large ones called cheese pumpkins; these have a bluish color on the
rind. All cooking pumpkins have a distinct, sweet flavor and low
moisture content. Take home vividly colored cooking pumpkins that feel
heavy for their size. Avoid any with blemishes on the rind.
When storing, keep them at room temperature
up to 1 month or refrigerate up to 3 months. To roast, cut a pie pumpkin
into quarters or sixths and scrape out fibers and seeds (reserve seeds
for roasting, if desired). To easily remove the strings from
fresh-cooked pumpkin. Cook the pumpkin with the strings, Then use an
electric mixer to beat the cooked pumpkin. Any strings will attach to
the beaters and can be easily removed by rinsing the beaters.
Pumpkin can be replaced with butternut
squash. You can use it cup for cup in placed of cooked pumpkin puree and
it is great for pie. If the taste of the pumpkin is too strong for you,
modify it by adding 1 tablespoon of an acidic ingredient, such as
orange, or lemon juice at the beginning of cooking time.