Okay Okay, I know these are ornamental gourds but I couldn’t help but think of pumpkins when taking this photograph. In honor of this project 31Day of Fruits & Vegetables, I would like to dedicate Day 13 to the Pumpkin. The Pumpkin formally known as Pepon is a fruit that’s apart of the squash family. From its well-known orange to yellow, red, green, white, blue and multi-colored striped. Their sizes can be tiny, flat, tall, huge, round, and more.

Do you know it’s easy to cook a pumpkin? Probably easier than you think.
When selecting a pumpkin you want to make you choose a pumpkin that feels firm and heavy for its size firstly. Second, you should always choose a pumpkin that has consistent coloring throughout no matter what pumpkin you select. To tell if your pumpkin is fresh, simply apply pressure on the bottom with your thumbs; if the pumpkin gives, it is not fresh. Be mindful to look for soft spots and cut which will indicate early spoilage. Lastly, make sure the stem is strong. Now to the good stuff boiling, steaming, and oven baking.

Boiling: 
In a large pot with approximately an inch of water, add two pounds of chopped pumpkin pieces (the larger the chunks, the longer it takes to cook); bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat, and let simmer. Stir occasionally. Cubing the pumpkin into half-inch cubes results in a quicker cooking time of 10 – 15 minutes. Cook until you can pierce the flesh easily with a fork. When cubing pumpkin, it’s easiest to remove the skin first with a potato peeler; when using larger chunks, just peel the flesh from the skin after it’s been cooked. Drain and let cool.

Steaming: 
Fill a large covered pot with 1-inch water; place a steaming rack inside. Add pumpkin pieces/chunks, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and steam for 30 minutes (or until tender). Remove flesh from skin once the pumpkin has been drained and cooled.

Oven baking:
This is my favorite method. Cut pumpkin in half crosswise and scoop out the seeds and stringy material. If the flesh looks fairly dry, cover the cut side of each pumpkin half with a piece of foil. If it is moist leave it uncovered. Place the pumpkin halves on a baking sheet and bake, foil side up in a preheated oven at 350 °F for about 1-1/2 hours or until the flesh is very tender when pierced with a fork. Don’t worry if the edges are browned. The natural sugars actually caramelize and give it a richer more complex flavor. When it is cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh.

I hope this hope next time you decide to pick up your Pumpkin.

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