Pumpkins are fall's most iconic food!  They serve as a delicious reminder of all the special occasions upcoming in the season, from Halloween to Thanksgiving.  Children and adults like take joy in picking the plumpest pumpkins fresh from the patch, but what do you do with the whole pumpkin then?  If you're not carving it into a spooky jack-o-lantern, cooking a whole pumpkin can be an intimidating prospect!  Enjoy whole, fresh pumpkin at your table this season by following these simple directions.  

Picking Your Pumpkin

Gargantuan pumpkins are great for carving because of their thin flesh and impressive size, but this also means they will likely have stringy meat and a low-sugar content.

Smaller, 3-6 pound pumpkins tend to be sweeter and meatier, making them ideal candidates for culinary use. Varieties like sugar pumpkins, trickster pumpkins, and pie pumpkins are among the best for cooking.

Cooking the Pumpkin

1)  Wash the pumpkin, removing all dirt and debris. Cut pumpkin in half with a sharp knife.

2) Remove the pumpkin seeds. Save seeds for roasting if desired.

3) Place the pumpkin halves skin side up in baking dish. Add 1/4th to a full inch of water.

4) Bake at 350° for 45-60 minutes or until tender. (You should be able to pierce the skin with a fork).

5) Remove from oven and let it cool.

6) Either peel off the skin and cut up the pumpkin flesh, or scoop the pumpkin flesh out of the skin! At this point, you can puree it or eat it chopped up into pieces! Use your freshly cooked pumpkins in any Yummly recipe you like!

Here are a few to get you started:

Pumpkin Bread

Double Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake

Pumpkin Risotto

Curried Pumpkin Soup

Perfect Pumpkin Pie

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  Photo Credits: Vista Wallpapers, The Cheap Gourmet, Nogmoseedbank, Cookstr, Simply Recipes, the Girl Who Ate Everything, New Up North, Siren Mag

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