To Eat a Jack-O-Lantern
Everywhere I searched on the web I was told jack-o-lantern style pumpkins are not for eating.
"They're too stringy,
they're too watery,
they don't have much flavor".
The jack-o-lantern only sat outside for a couple of hours, and was washed and cooked thoroughly before using. I would definitely advise against using a jack-o-lantern that has been sitting outside for longer than a few hours....
Nonsense I said.... they were made for eating before they were made for decorating! I couldn't bring myself to waste so much potentially useful pumpkin.
So I set out to prove the common feelings about our poor field pumpkin wrong. And I can gladly say it was a success!
So let me tell you how I proved wrong the three points above!
"They're too stringy"
Well this was just a silly reason, and a very easy one to fix at that. After roasting the pumpkin and removing the skin, I mashed the flesh with a fork then put all of it into a food processor for a few minutes until it was beautifully smooth. Absolutely no stringage!!
"They're too watery"
Another easy fix! I took the above puree and put it in a pot over medium heat and simply reduced it down (evaporated the water) until it was nice and thick. :) Water problem solved.
"They don't have much flavor"
Now this was just a silly statement. Really. Think of the pumpkin flavored foods you eat. Pie.... muffins.... can you really pick out the pumpkin flavor? More than likely what comes to mind is the flavor of nutmeg. I really don't think a little bit less robust pumpkin like the field pumkin is really gonna kill that flavor! ;-) Have you ever tasted that canned pumpkin?? Well needless to say my field pumpkin puree tasted much better than the tinny stuff!
To get to the puree stage isn't too complicated... just time consuming. After all, thats a lot of pumpkin!!
I used a meat cleaver and just chopped the heck out of the thing into large chunks and laid them out on 2 foil lined cookie sheets, and covered them with more foil. Heat the oven up to 325 and roasted for several hours, until all the flesh was soft.
Let it cool a little then scrape the flesh from the skin into a large bowl, mashing with a fork.
Put it in a food processor until it is nice and smooth. If you end up with excess water like I did, just stick it in a pot and reduce it til it is nice and thick. I heard some people say they used coffee filters, etc, but that just sounded like more time and a mess to me!
And there you have your own pumpkin puree!! Good use for a pumpkin that usually sees its end in a trash can. :(
In the end I used standard pumpkin recipes that called for canned pumpkin.... and everything tasted just as good (if not better) than if I had actually used the pumpkin from the can. The pumpkin soup is a favorite of mine I've been making for years, as well as a pie. I used the standard Eagle Brand Pumpkin Pie recipe that is tried and true.
Curried Pumpkin Soup (vegan friendly!)
12 oz pureed pumpkin
1 onion diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups vegetable broth
2 TBS curry powder
1 TBS cumin
- Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, curry, and cumin; saute, stirring often, until onion is soft and fragrant.
- Stir in pumpkin, and broth. Bring to a boil, stirring often. Cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.