Ranging from sweet to savory, pumpkin comes in various forms and can be cooked many different ways. It is ideal for sous-vide cooking because it releases its full aroma and flavor during the vacuum-sealed cooking process. Here is a list of the most popular pumpkin varieties and what makes each type unique and desirable.
Hokkaido pumpkin: This is the most popular type of pumpkin with its slightly nutty flavor and firm flesh. Unlike other varieties that need to be peeled, the Hokkaido pumpkin variety can be eaten with its skin on. It can be used in a wide range of dishes.
Butternut squash: Butternut squash is sweeter than the Hokkaido pumpkin variety, has lots of flesh, and contains fewer seeds. Its creamy consistency makes this squash variety an ideal choice for soup recipes.
Spaghetti squash: Named for its spaghetti-like flesh, this pumpkin is typically cooked whole until tender and then the flesh is scooped out. Feel like you are eating a decadent Italian dish with this healthy vegetable substitute.
Muscat pumpkin: The muscat pumpkin has a delicate nutmeg flavor and slightly fibrous consistency. Use this pumpkin variety in a wide range of recipes.
Early-harvest: These larger pumpkins are usually seen around Halloween time and are used as decorations at home and in the garden. The flesh can be used in soups and purées.
When choosing a pumpkin, use the “knock test” – a fresh pumpkin should always produce a hollow sound. The surface should be matte, firm, and intact. A good sign of a ripe pumpkin is a dried or woody stem. Pumpkins have a long shelf life (up to half a year) when properly stored in a cool, dark place (50-55F). Leftover pumpkin can be frozen by blanching the flesh and storing in appropriate bags or containers. Avoid cooking ornamental pumpkins as they are not designed for consumption and contain poisonous substances that can lead to sickness and vomiting.
Don’t throw away pumpkin seeds! They make a healthy snack rich in fatty Omega-6 fatty acids. To prepare for eating, mix seeds in 1-2 teaspoons of oil. Evenly spread seeds on a baking tray and roast at 325F for 5-15 minutes or until desired crispiness is reached. Cooked seeds can last in an airtight container for up to several months.
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Our mouthwatering, creamy pumpkin soup to warm up during this cold winter days
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