Pumpkin is a winter squash that has been cultivated for hundreds of years in the Southwest. It ranges in size from several inches to several feet and can be round or oblong in shape. The average cooking pumpkin is usually between 10 and 25 pounds. The meat, the seeds, and the pumpkin's blossoms are all edible and can be prepared in many different ways. Pumpkin pulp is also sold in 16-ounce cans, which makes a convenient substitute for fresh cooked pumpkin in recipes.
Fresh pumpkin, however, always tastes better. Here is the method I use to cook it: Cut the pumpkin into quarters and remove the seeds and fibers. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. and bake the pumpkin quarters 45 minutes, until tender. Remove from the oven and scrape the flesh from the skin. Place in a food processor and puree. Run through a sieve to remove any remaining fibers and use the pumpkin according to the recipe instructions.
Cooked pumpkin will keep about 1 week in a nonmetal, covered container in the refrigerator and several months in the freezer.
From "Native American Cooking," by Lois Ellen Frank Submitted By HILDE MOTT On 11-19-94
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