Shared by Rachel
Pumpkin Know How:
Pumpkins are one of those wonderful fruit/veggie things that mean different things to different people. They are star performers in nursery rhymes, folklore and cartoons. There are pumpkin festivals where people compete to grow the largest, heaviest, most attractive or ugliest pumpkin. There are two main things most of us think of when we see the word pumpkin: Halloween jack-o-lanterns and pumpkin pie. However there are many other ways to use pumpkins. To pick the right pumpkin for each use there are a few things you should know.
Handling Keep pumpkins dry and cool [not cold]; they should last up to 3 months.
Pie pumpkins: Use small, sweet "sugar" pumpkins that weigh around 7 to 10 pounds [3 to 5 kilos]. These should have firm sweet flesh.
Jack-o-lanterns: Use the larger field pumpkins for these. The shape can be wild and wonderful or the traditional oval - let your imagination go when you carve or paint them. The flesh is often too stringy for pie use but can still be used for other types of cooking.
Carving: Don't carve your pumpkin until the day you want to display it. They can start to spoil quickly and won't last more than 2 to 3 days at the most
Cooking: Wash; cut in half through the stem; remove seeds and gooey stuff. You can bake them on a baking sheet, cut side down with a little water, at 350F [180C] for about an hour. When tender, scrape the cooked flesh from the skin; place in a strainer to drain the excess juice. You can puree the cooked pulp and freeze it in small batches. You can also grate or shred the raw pumpkin and use it in cookies and quick breads in the same way zucchini is used
Nutritional info: Pumpkin flesh is low in calories and high in Beta carotene and potassium.1/2 cup [125mL] [122g] of mashed boiled pumpkin contains 24 calories; 0.1gfat; 1320IU of Vitamin A as well as some calcium and some phosphorus; 1 cup [250mL] [33g] of raw pumpkin flowers contains 5 calories; 1/2 cup [125mL][67g] of boiled pumpkin flowers contains 10 calories; 1 cup [250mL] [71g] of boiled pumpkin leaves contains 15 calories.