Ways to Select, Clean, Cut and Cook A Pumpkin

Cooked and diced pumpkin in a pan

The leaves are changing, the weather outside is getting crisp, but it wouldn’t really be fall without a patio filled with pumpkins straight from the patch. Whether you plan to use them for spooky Halloween decorations or in your favorite festive Thanksgiving dishes, they’re a family favorite year after year. Here, we look at ways—new and old—to select, clean, cut, and cook autumn’s all star.

Depending on what you’re looking for, pumpkins are fairly easy to select: choose one that is firm, doesn’t look like it has bruises on the outside, and has a green stem which means that it was recently picked from the patch. See the pumpkin varieties you’ll find at your H-E-B store.
Cleaning a pumpkin for cooking

Be a Clean Machine
If you’re planning on eating your pumpkin rather than turning it into a jack-o-lantern, you won’t need to remove the stem, but instead, you’ll want to cut the crop in half to scrape out the insides. To do this, (once you make sure an adult is present), select a large butcher knife and make an incision in the top, continuing to cut down until it is entirely sliced to the bottom mid point. Do the same on the other side until you complete the incision.

When you’re ready to clean out the insides, start by laying down parchment paper in your work area (this makes cleanup a breeze later on). Then, using an ice cream scoop or large spoon, begin to remove the seeds and insides and place them straight into a colander or large bowl. If you want only the seeds, this will make it easy to rinse off the parts that you don’t need. Fold up the parchment paper when you’re done and clean up’s a breeze.


Connect Four: Our Favorite Ways to Cook Pumpkin
The Bake
Preheat the oven between 300-350°F and place 2-inch wide slices meat-side down, so that the hard shell is facing up between 1 hour and 1.5 hours.
The Boil
Remove the skin from the pumpkin using a smaller knife or potato peeler. Cube in small pieces and cover with boiling water until tender or about 30 minutes.
The Grill
To char pumpkin, cut slices about one-inch thick and coat them in olive oil. Season depending to your tastes, but salt, cinnamon, and just a shake of sugar will lend a nice, festive flavor.
The Microwave
To cook in the microwave, place in a glass bowl or dish and cook on high in 5-minute increments until the insides are soft and easily removable from the rind.


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