article was submitted by Alice Henneman, Extension Educator
and appears in the October
2001 NEBLINE NEWSLETTER--A monthly publication of University
of Nebraska Cooperative Extension in Lancaster County.
fall and thoughts turn to pumpkin pie and to Halloween jack-o-lanterns.
But, can you use a pumpkin for BOTH a jack-o-lantern AND for
children can enjoy creating jack-o-lanterns by drawing the
eyes and mouth on the pumpkins with markers," states Ann Hertzler,
extension specialist, Virginia Cooperative Extension. "They
can be creative and have a good time and the pumpkin is still
safe for eating."
pie tastes great this time of year and is also an excellent
source of nutrients. "The bright orange color of pumpkin is
a dead giveaway that pumpkin is loaded with an important antioxidant,
beta-carotene," according to the University of Illinois Cooperative
Extension. "Current research indicates that a diet rich in
foods containing beta-carotene may reduce the risk of developing
certain types of cancer and offers protect against heart disease.
Beta-carotene offers protection against other diseases as
well as some degenerative aspects of aging."
are some tips from the University of Illinois on preparing
a pumpkin for making pumpkin pie (http://www.urbanext.uiuc.edu/pumpkins/selection.html).
Work on a clean surface. Before cutting, wash the outer surface
of the pumpkin thoroughly with cool tap water to remove any
surface dirt that could be transferred to the inside of the
pumpkin during cutting.
Start by removing the stem with a sharp knife. Cut in half
with a sharp knife. In any case, remove the stem and scoop
out the seeds and scrape away all of the stringy mass. A messy
job, but it will pay off.
Method: Cut the pumpkin into rather large chunks. Rinse
in cold water. Place pieces in a large pot with about a cup
of water. The water does not need to cover the pumpkin pieces.
Cover the pot and boil 20 to 30 minutes or until tender, or
steam 10 to 12 minutes. Check for doneness by poking with
a fork. Drain the cooked pumpkin in a colander. Reserve the
liquid to use as a base for soup. Follow the steps outlined
below in Preparing the Puree.
Oven Method: Cut pumpkin in half, scraping away stringy
mass and seeds. Rinse under cold water. Place pumpkin, cut
side down on a large cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees F for
one hour or until fork tender. Then follow the procedure outlined
below in Preparing the Puree.
Method: Cut pumpkin in half, place cut side down on a
microwave safe plate or tray. Microwave on high for 15 minutes,
check for doneness. If necessary continue cooking at 1-2 minute
intervals until fork tender. Continue as outlined below in
Preparing the Puree.
the pumpkin is cool enough to handle, remove the peel using
a small sharp knife and your fingers. Put the peeled pumpkin
in a food processor and puree or use a food mill, ricer, strainer
or potato masher to form a puree.
puree freezes well. To freeze, measure cooled puree into one
cup portions, place in ridged freezer containers, leaving
1/2-inch headspace or pack into zip closure bags. Label, date,
and freeze at 0 degrees F for up to one year. (NOTE: Transfer
hot foods to shallow containers to speed cooling. You can
place loosely covered foods in the refrigerator while still
warm; cover when food is completely cooled.) Use this puree
in recipes or substitute in the same amount in any recipe
calling for solid pack canned pumpkin.
Don't let your cooked pumpkin set at room temperature longer
than two hours in the process of making puree.
more information on Food Safety and Nutrition, visit here.