At this time of the month there are plenty of pumpkin to choose from. Pumpkin is a member of the Cucurbita family, large trailing vine with heart-shaped leaves. They are in reality a winter squash.
Pumpkin are high in vitamin A, B, and C, iron, phosphorous and potassium.
About 99 percent of the pumpkins sold in the grocery store are used as jack-o-lanterns. These large, deep orange color pumpkin is a variety called Connecticut Field are stringy to eat and high water content. They are not good for eating, suitable for carving only.
Smaller size pumpkin called “pie” or sweet varieties have sweeter flesh that is less watery making these the best for eating.
My favorite sweet pumpkin for eating are winter luxury and New England Pie. Winter luxury will grow 5-7 pounds, it has a unique netted skin, dense and sweet tasting. New England Pie, will grow 4- 6 pounds, dry, stringless and relatively starchy.
The best temperature range is 50F to 55F with relatively low humidity, storing in high humidity will rot the pumpkins. Store away from light in area with good ventilation.
To keep your home-grown pumpkins or store-bought, cut them into slices pieces or large chunks and microwaved, boiled baked in oven or steamed. Puree cooked pumpkin meat, freezes well, and can be kept frozen up to one year. Place one cup portions in ridged freezer containers leaving 1/2 inch of head space, or use freezer bags. With this method I am able to use in recipes until next pumpkin harvesting
The most prominent Halloween symbol is of course the carved pumpkin with lit candle inside. This is an Iris tradition of carving a lantern, which goes back centuries. These lantern usually carved from a potatoes or turnips. The pumpkin carving was first associated with Halloween in North America, where pumpkin was more readily available, much larger and easier to carve.
For delicious Halloween treat……
ROASTED PUMPKIN SEEDS
Roasted pumpkin seeds, also know as “pepitas” are wonderful nutritious snack.
Cut the pumpkin, scrape the seeds and put them in colander to rinse. Remove any pulp, strings, (this can be tedious) and dry throughly. Put seeds in a large bowl, add a few drops of live oil ( I like extra virgin). Spread on cookie sheet line with parchment paper. Roast in the oven at 375F until seeds are golden brown color. Keep an eye on them, and move them around occasionally to ensure even roasting. cool completely and store in air tight container.
Interesting Pumpkin Facts
Pumpkins are grown on six of the seven continents, and they range in size from less than a pound to over 1000 pounds
Pumpkins were once thought to be beneficial for treating snakebites and for removing freckles. They are typically 90 percent water !
Morton, Illinois, USA, is the self-proclaimed “Pumpkin Capital of the World” where Nestle USA/Libby will process 2.4 million cases of pumpkin between August and October !
Happy Halloween and have a save one…….