Sunday, October 24, 2010

Getting Started with Fresh Pumpkins

The gift of the cracked French red pumpkin (also called a Cinderella pumpkin) caused me to move from the planning stage to the action stage. I was enjoying just looking at my fresh pumpkins. But now I was forced to jump in with both feet and do something with at least one of them. My goal was to peel it, cut it into chunks and vacuum seal the chunks in 1- and 2-pound bags bound for the freezer and refrigerator. I also had a goal of not taking all day to do it.

The skin of a pumpkin hardens after picking - sometimes to the point of having to drop it on cement in order to get into it. This beautiful pumpkin had just been picked so the skin was fairly soft. Starting at the crack, it was easy to cut in half and then cut each half into three sections.

I microwaved one section, but it didn't aid in the peeling, just made it soft and really hot. I tried a knife and a potato peeler, but it was tedious. What worked the best was a flat metal cheese slicer (not the wire kind), which peeled two inch wide sections without taking too much flesh. The groves had to be dealt with individually, but that was going to happen with any method. The whole process went pretty fast after that, and I now have five bags of French red pumpkin ready to go.

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