Today Pumpkin is my Hero! Pumpkin (Greek, “large melon”) is a large orange squash fruit of the genus Cucurbita family along with squash and cucumbers, originated in Central America. It can be of different shapes and sizes, but most often round with smooth, slightly ribbed skin, and deep yellow to orange in coloration. The thick shell contains edible pulp and seeds. The yellow-orange flowers that bloom on the pumpkin vine are edible as well.
There are five common species of squashes: ficifolia (chilacayote squash and Malabar gourd), maxima (Hubbard, ‘Lakota,’ buttercup, and winter squashes), mixta (cushaw squash), moschata (‘Shakertown Field’ and ‘Long Island Cheese’ pumpkins), and pepo (jack-o’-lantern varieties, delicata squashes, ornamental gourds).
The best pumpkins for cooking include:
Raw pumpkin has a hearty, rich flavor that makes it a good stand-alone snack or side dish. Fresh pumpkin will have a bright flavor, while canned pumpkin will be a little more muted in flavor. Cubed fresh pumpkin is very hard, just like other winter squashes, and needs to be cooked before eating. Once cooked, the pumpkin tends to be smooth, but doesn’t generally get stringy.
Fresh baked or roasted pumpkin has a texture that is much more like velvet. There are some pumpkins that are much sweeter than others. The best way to encourage the sweet flavor in any pumpkin is to roast it. Even the sweeter varieties of pumpkins aren’t going to taste very sweet if you try to eat them raw.
There are many ways to incorporate pumpkin into desserts, soups, salads, preserves, and even as a substitute for butter.
Pumpkins can normally be stored for 30 – 90 days.
Store the pumpkin in a cool, dry and dark place (if possible). Avoid hot and humid places, even if storing for only a couple of weeks. Pumpkins are best stored on a board or piece of cardboard. Do not store the fruit on a cement floor, as they tend to rot.
For today’s recipe I choose Cinderella pumpkin
Cinderella pumpkins have become increasingly popular in recent years because of their shape, bright color, and enchanting name. They has flattened shape, yet rounded, deeply ribbed. The taste is semi-sweet and moist.
Cinderella pumpkins are best suited for cooked applications such as roasting, baking, and steaming. Their sweet flavor and creamy texture make them ideal for use in baked goods and desserts such as pies, bread, muffins, cookies, and cakes. They can also be pureed and used to make pumpkin ice cream. In addition to sweet preparations, this type of pumpkin can be cooked and made into pumpkin butter, pureed into soups, stews, or casseroles, or hollowed out and used as a decorative bowl. They pair well with meats such as sausage, poultry, bacon, or turkey, carrots, celery, parsnips, rutabagas, cabbage, green and red bell pepper, broccoli, zucchini, corn, mushrooms, garlic, onions, chives, cream cheese, cinnamon, honey, rice, quinoa, parsley, Italian seasoning, rosemary, thyme, and cheese such as cheddar, Elemental, or Gruyere. They will keep 3-5 months when stored in a cool and dry place.
(*) Home-made pumpkin puree
To prepare puree from pumpkin the best way it is to steam 300 g of pumpkin first (previously peeled and cut into small cubes) in steamer and then blend it. It can be stored in the jar till 3 days in the fridge.
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