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Tips on how to prepare a pumpkin for those fall recipes.
Nashville, Ark. – Pumpkins, pumpkins, pumpkins! Everywhere you look right now you
see pumpkins in all sizes, shapes and colors. Leaves changing colors, scarecrows and
pumpkins herald in the change of season even if the weather does not cooperate. Pumpkins
are a staple of fall decorating since they can be used for Halloween decorating and
beyond. Now is the time to carve your pumpkin into a scary Jack-O-Lantern.
While everyone is thinking decorating with pumpkins this time of the year,
pumpkins add a lot to our diet. Rich in nutrients and low in calories, just one half
cup of canned pumpkin provides 4 grams of fiber, no fat or cholesterol, and only 50
calories. It also provides enough vitamin A for the entire day.
The most common use for pumpkins is for carving, but if you are using
it for cooking, look for pie or sweet varieties. These pumpkins are usually smaller
and have a sweeter flesh that is less watery. So when choosing a pumpkin for decorating,
look for the Jack-O-Lantern size and choose the smaller ones for eating. It is recommended
that you do not eat the Jack-O-Lantern style pumpkins. You can roast the seeds, but
once you have cut a face in them and allowed them to sit outside they are no longer
safe to eat. Choose a pie pumpkin variety to eat.
To peel a pumpkin, cut off the top and then cut a thin horizontal slice
off of the bottom. This will help the pumpkin sit flat on your cutting board. Using
a large knife, cut slices of the skin off from top to bottom, working your way around
the pumpkin. Cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds and stringy pulp. Discard
the pulp. If you would like to save the seeds for roasting later, then thoroughly
clean the seeds and set them aside. Cut the now empty remaining pumpkin into chunks.
Pumpkin puree can be made by steaming the pumpkin chunks until they are
tender. Drain them well. Place the chunks in a food processor or blender and until
they are pureed. You can also use a potato masher. To remove any strings that might
remain, strain the puree through a fine sieve or strainer.
Another alternative is to bake the unpeeled, seeded pumpkin halves in
a 325 degree oven for about one hour or until tender. Scoop out the flesh and then
puree. Use the pumpkin puree for your favorite recipes immediately, or you may freeze
it for up to one year in a freezer safe container.
You can also purchase canned pumpkin. The work has been done and it is
convenient. It also works well in most recipes. When purchasing canned pumpkin, be
sure to buy plain pumpkin and not pumpkin pie filling which has sugar and spices already
mixed in. Read the label carefully to make sure you are buying what you think you
Pumpkin is a fall favorite! And it is for more than just decorating. Experiment
with different recipes containing pumpkins. Muffins, cookies, loaf breads, cakes,
dips, made with pumpkin are all delicious! If you would like to receive a free handout
on pumpkins, including how to roast pumpkin seeds, contact me at the Howard County
Cooperative Extension Service by calling 870-845-7517. You may also visit our office
located on the second floor of the courthouse.
Recipe of the Week
This recipe is sure to be a hit at your Halloween party! It is easy to
make. Everyone, kids and adults, will love this recipe. This recipe is from the pumpkin
handout mentioned in the above article.
1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin
1 box powdered sugar
16 ounces light cream cheese
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
Blend the first five ingredients until mixed well.
Serve with gingersnap cookies or graham crackers.
By Jean Ince County Extension Agent - Staff ChairThe Cooperative Extension ServiceU of A System Division of Agriculture
Media Contact: Jean Ince County Extension Agent - Staff ChairU of A Division of AgricultureCooperative Extension Service421 N. Main St, Nashville AR 71852 (870) 845-7517 firstname.lastname@example.org
The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative
action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need
materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other
appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay. The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension
and Research programs to all eligible persons without regard to race, color, sex,
gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital
or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and
is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.