Pumpkin Selection and StorageFor 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. Unless they are waxed by the grower, a shiny skin indicates the squash was picked too soon. Look for a dull finish.
Plan on purchasing 1/3 to 1/2 pound of pumpkin per serving as a side dish. Much of the weight will be discarded in the peel and seeds.
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.
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.
Leftover cooked pumpkin can be frozen up to 16 months or canned.
As a convenience, pre-cooked, purÃ©ed 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 same manner as most any winter squash, usually by cutting into chunks and simmering for 20 to 40 minutes, depending on size and age. Drain. When cool enough to handle, remove the skin and purÃ©e.
More About Pumpkins Pumpkin Storage and Selection
Pumpkin Cooking Tips
Pumpkin Equivalents, Measures, and Substitutions
Pumpkin Carving Tips
Pumpkins and Health
Pumpkin Photo © 2006 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone, licensed to About.com, Inc.
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