Use Your Whole Pumpkin – Cutting and Cleaning

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Thanks to creative marketing by companies like Starbucks and Yankee Candle, I tend to only crave pumpkin scents and flavors during the latter part of the year as part of my fall tradition. Pumpkins are quite versatile – they create the perfect accessories for décor during October and November, they yield many options as a food item, and if you have a fairy godmother, they can be turned into a stylish ride to a fancy ball.

We brought home three pumpkins from the pumpkin patch a few weeks ago, and I had some fun in the kitchen this past weekend breaking them down for puree, soup, and roasted seeds.

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Cutting and Cleaning a Pumpkin

Okay, I said I had fun in the kitchen, but in actuality, prepping a pumpkin can be a lot of work. Cleaning out stringy pumpkin guts is a ritual all-too familiar to Halloween enthusiasts, and it’s just annoying to do. The texture of the inner pumpkin tends to be slimy and sticky, so be prepared. You’ll want to pull out the seeds by hand and set them aside first. Next, I’ve found using a serrated steak knife to scrape the stringy guts to be effective in the past, but if you have a pumpkin carving kit, the scraper tool works best.

Removing the tough outer layer of skin can be cumbersome, as well as time consuming. I found some tricks for making this task easier at this website. That method calls for microwaving the pumpkin, but you can also bake your pumpkin in the oven to soften the skin. It does take about an hour to do so, though, so it might be best to tackle your skin removal and meal prep on different days should you choose that method.

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