Pumpkins - Not Just for Puree and Pie
If I ask you to visual a pumpkin, most people would pictures a Jack-o-lantern. While those pumpkins are bred for for thick walls for carving, there are amazing varieties bred for flavor. From Sugar Pie to Long Island Cheese and Jarrahdale, there are so many pumpkins that have been bred to be enjoyed in the kitchen and not simple as a porch decoration. Different varieties are bred for different advantages from beautiful skin or flesh color, to sweet flavors, to a creamy texture, to thick walls for slicing. Hopefully this post will make them feel more approachable.
How to Disassemble Any Pumpkin Variety
To start, wash the exterior of your pumpkin to ensure no remaining dirt. Then place it on the cutting board on whichever side is flattest. Take a sharp chef's knife and cut the squash from top to bottom keeping your fingers curled under and away from the blade. Rotate the squash around and repeat the cut from top to bottom on the opposite side.
If the cuts do not fulling cut the squash in half, then finish the job by pulling the two halves apart using the cuts as a place to grip.
Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and connective tissue. Skip two pictures down for the easiest way to remove the slimy connective tissue.
Place the pumpkin half, flat side down, on the cutting board. The cut crescent shaped slices in the pumpkin, taking care to curl in your fingers in and away from the knife.
Once you have slices of the pumpkin, then you can go in and use a "Y" shaped vegetable peeler to remove the connective tissue that connects the seeds easily and pain free with one pass.
While you can use your knife to cut the skin off most pumpkins, a sharp "Y" shape peeler makes quick work once the pumpkin has been broken down into manageable slices.
If your recipe calls for cubed pumpkins, take note of the cube size. If you wish to have small cubes or dice, it might be helpful to cut the slices in half before starting to cube the pumpkin.
Hopefully this has helped you feel a little more comfortable breaking down a whole pumpkin!