Dealing with pumpkin

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~ Pumpkins used for eating should be pumpkins raised for eating: 7 pounds or less. They often have 'sugar' in the name, though not always, and might be described as having 'firm, fine-grained flesh.' ~ Remove seeds, pulling off and discarding the stringy pulp. Don't wash the seeds. Combine 1 cup of seeds with 1 tb. vegetable oil on a baking sheet with sides. Sprinkle with ½ tsp. salt and bake at 350 F. until seeds are light brown, about 20 to 30 minutes.

~ If you are mashing the pumpkin to pulp for cooking, cook before peeling by steaming, microwaving or baking. The skin should come off easily when it's cooked. Don't boil the pumpkin because it will become waterlogged.

~ If you want to use pumpkin unmashed (as in the black bean soup and pumpkin with apricot recipes in the accompanying story), microwave large chunks of seedless pumpkin for a few minutes. The pulp nearest the skin should soften first, making it easier to peel. Then you can cube the meat and use it in recipes that require chunks of fresh pumpkin.

~ The flesh of buttercup and butternut squashes, sweet potatoes and pumpkins are often interchangeable in recipes. The flavor will change, of course, but all will taste good.

~ Squashes and pumpkins prefer to be stored in a cool, dry place. An enclosed, uninsulated porch or attic might be a better choice than a damp but cool basement.

~ Pureed squash freezes well. Keep three months at 0 degrees or lower.

~ A pound of peeled, cubed pumpkin or squash makes about 2 cups puree.

From Food Editor Sarah Fritschner's 10/19/94"Pumpkins: Beyond Pie" article and inset in "The (Louisville, KY) Courier-Journal." Pg. C4.

Posted by Cathy Harned.

Submitted By CATHY HARNED On 10-24-94

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