How to Pick a Pumpkin
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|Tue, 10-07-2003 - 10:38pm|
Since it's about that time - - I was wondering HOW to pick a good pumpkin and here's what I found out....
Pumpkin selection and storage
For cooking purposes, choose smaller sizes, which will have more tender, flavorful flesh. Select pumpkins which are free of blemishes, harvested with their stems intact, and those which feel heavy for their size. Store in a cool, dry place, such as an attic or spare room (root cellars are too damp) at 45 to 60 degrees F. up to a month, or refrigerate for up to three months. Higher temperatures cause the flesh to become stringy. For extended storage, wash skins in a solution of about a tablespoon of chlorine bleach to a gallon of water to disinfect the skin and discourage mold or rot. Dry immediately as dampness encourages spoilage. If you find mold, wipe with vegetable oil to remove the mold and seal the spot. Leftovers can be frozen or canned.
As a convenience, pre-cooked, puréed pumpkin can be purchased in cans to use for most purposes, and it is surprisingly retentive of vitamins and minerals. Fresh pumpkin can be pared and cooked in the manner of most any squash, usually by cutting into chunks and simmering for 20-40 minutes, depending on size and age. Drain. When cool enough to handle, remove the skin and purée. Pumpkin seeds can be toasted on a cookie sheet in the oven at a low temperature. Be sure to stir them often and watch for burning. Some prefer to soak the seeds in salt water before toasting. Shelled pumpkin seeds can be used as a less expensive alternative to pine nuts in recipes.