All about European pumpkin > From the market to your plate
Although a whole pumpkin is big, it can be bought in slices and it stores very well.
Choose firm, heavy pumpkins with a hard, even rind, with no blemishes or cracks.
Be sure the stem is attached: it's an important gauge for storing.
If sliced, reject any with overripe flesh: it is easy to identify because it turns soft and slimy.
Store pumpkin in a cool place or in the refrigerator crisper.
It will keep from several weeks to more than six months. Some increase in flavour if you leave it for a while before eating it.
Cut with a sharp heavy knife.
Cut out the stem end to hollow out the pumpkin to use later as a tureen.
Pumpkin is generally eaten cooked.
There are various methods of cooking it:
- soup: cook in chicken broth, then purée
- pressure cooker: cut into large cubes and cook for 10-15 minutes
- steamed: cook for 20 minutes in boiling water
- gratin: steam or cook in a pressure cooker. Purée. Dry quickly in a non-stick pan to evaporate the excess water, then transfer the pumpkin to a baking dish, season to taste (salt, pepper, cinnamon, ginger), cover with cheese (parmesan, gruyère or mozzarella) and gratiné.
- sautéed with butter: a fall side that is perfect with game or dark-meat poultry.
To check squash for doneness, insert a knife blade, as with potatoes.
Use a hollowed-out squash as a soup tureen. You can even warm up your soup in the pumpkin in the oven to give it additional flavour.
In the same way, fill a squash with rice, cubes of pumpkin or potiron, chicken stock and diced mango with some mint leaves or other herb and cook in the oven.
For a nice autumn touch, use the a scooped-out squash as an ice bucket.
Hints & Tips