GLOW Body Blog

Fit, Mindful, Nourished.

Get Pumped! to select, clean, and cook a pumpkin

I love pumpkin anything. It is a flavorful, nutritious (think fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, no cholesterol, and yes... I could go on!), low-calorie squash-fruit that bursts with healthy benefits.

Grown on six of the seven continents (sorry, Antarctica!), with the pumpkin capital of the world in good old Morton, Illinois, it is safe to say that this orange delight ranks high in popularity! Mother Earth is kind. 

She provides seasonal gifts that give us exactly what we need. From delectable roasted pumpkin seeds, to sweet flavored pumpkin flowers, to the pumpkin meat itself ─ the star of nourishing meals and tempting desserts (be sure to try our pumpkin soup recipe this month!), pumpkins pack tremendous punch! And with some basic info, you can feel confident selecting, cleaning, and cooking yours!

Selecting A Pumpkin

If you are choosing a pumpkin for cooking (as opposed to a jack-o-lantern), look for sweet pumpkin or pie pumpkin varieties. They are smaller, meatier, and less watery. A general guideline is one pound of raw (untrimmed) pumpkin = one cup finished puree. Next, look for:

  • No blemishes or soft spots
  • An intact stem (1-2 inches)
  • A heavy feel (shape does not matter)
  • A dull finish
Cleaning & Preparation

Scrub the outside of your pumpkin with a vege brush. You might want to work on newspaper to make cleanup easier. Next, slice it in half with a sharp knife. Once it is opened:

  • Remove the stem
  • Scoop out the seeds
  • Scrape away fibers and remaining seeds with a regular spoon or─ even better, a serrated grapefruit spoon
  • Cut pumpkin halves into smaller pieces, then rinse under cold water
Cooking the Pumpkin

 I like the oven method for pumpkin preparation. Simply:

  • Place pumpkin pieces, skin-side-up in a shallow baking dish
  • Add water to just cover bottom of dish
  • Cover tightly!
  • Bake at 325 until pumpkin is "fork tender"
  • Allow to cool
  •  Cut off peel (or scoop out flesh)

You are now ready to enjoy fresh, fortifying, fantastic homemade pumpkin. Easy, huh? Get cooking!