Cooking a pumpkin: It's so easy to prepare a pumpkin

You want to cook something delicious out of your pumpkin? We'll show you what to look out for when preparing pumpkin and how you can make the pumpkin durable.

Pumpkins aren't just that for carving on Halloween there! Versatile dishes can be conjured up from the pulp of most table pumpkins. Don't worry if you've never cooked with pumpkin before: we will explain step by step how to find the right pumpkin for cooking, how differently you can prepare the pumpkin and how you can stock up on pumpkins for the winter.

Which pumpkins are edible?

You can eat all the pumpkins from the supermarket without hesitation. Ornamental pumpkins, on the other hand, are not suitable for cooking. They contain the bitter substance cucurbitacin, which can cause severe stomach pain, diarrhea or even food poisoning.

The edible pumpkins include:

  • Hokkaido pumpkin
  • Butternut squash
  • Spaghetti squash
  • Nutmeg Pumpkin (Muscat de Provence)
  • Gorgonzola squash

The general rule: If the pumpkin tastes bitter, it is probably poisonous. If in doubt, always try a piece of raw pumpkin beforehand. If the taste is bitter, spit it out immediately and do not use the pumpkin for cooking. Why test before cooking? The bitter note disappears when cooked, but the pumpkin is still poisonous.
Particular caution is required with home-grown pumpkins - especially if you have planted ornamental and table pumpkins at the same time. This can lead to backcrossing, which makes the actual pumpkins poisonous. Therefore, always create separate beds for the pumpkin seeds and do the taste test before you cook the pumpkin. The same goes for zucchini, by the way!

Buying a pumpkin: You should pay attention to this

Before deciding on the first available pumpkin from the supermarket, there are a few things you should check to make sure the pumpkin is ripe and not rotten.
1. Eye test: Leave the pumpkin if it has any cracks or soft spots on the skin.
2. Knock test: If the pumpkin sounds hollow when you knock on the bowl, it is ripe.
3. Lift test: A good pumpkin should be heavier than it suggests at first glance.
4th. Pull test: If the stem comes off when you pull on it, the pumpkin is no longer good.

Peel and core the pumpkin

Before you cook the pumpkin, you must first peel it and remove the seeds - but please do not throw away the pumpkin seeds! We'll show you below how to prepare the kernels. When peeling pumpkin, the most important thing is the variety.
1. Peel the Hokkaido pumpkin
Good news for all impatient: The shell of Hokkaido pumpkins with organic quality can be eaten. For everything that still wants to peel the pumpkin - for example for fine pumpkin puree or for pumpkin fruit cake - peel the instructions for the Hokkaido pumpkin.

1. Stalk with a sharp, pointed knife.
2. Pumpkin bottom for a safe stand flat.
3. Put the pumpkin perpendicular and halved.
4. Remove pumpkin seeds and fibers with a spoon from both halves.
5. Place bottled Hokkaido halves flat on the cut surfaces.
6. Disconnect bowl thinly with a knife or a peeler.
7. Peeled Hokkaido pumpkin for cooking in columns or small cubes.

2. Peel butternut pumpkin
As with other musk shortbuels, the bowl of the butternut pumpkin is so hard that you should peel the pumpkin before cooking in any case.

1. For easier processing, cut off the thin upper part first. It does not contain any cores.
2. Quarter or halve the thick lower part. Scoop out the seeds from each piece.
3. Halve the top of the butternut. Lay it flat and cut the peel off with a knife.
4th. Peel the butternut quarters in the same way.
5. Cut the butternut squash into slices or cubes according to the recipe.

3. Peel the nutmeg squash
The challenge of peeling the nutmeg squash lies in the curved shell and the large size. Therefore, it is best to proceed here piece by piece.

1. Place the pumpkin flat in front of you.
2. Cut several pieces of cake from the pumpkin with a large, pointed knife.
3. Leave the stalk in the middle, it is not edible.
4th. Core the pumpkin wedges piece by piece with a spoon.
5. Put the pumpkin slices on their side and peel them all around with a knife or peeler.
6th. Cut the nutmeg squash pieces into small pieces.

Boil the pumpkin: in a saucepan

Basically you can eat pumpkin raw, that's right. But because it doesn't taste particularly good, it makes sense to prepare the pumpkin. The quickest way to do this is to boil the pumpkin - no matter what kind - in a saucepan with water.

  • Heat the water in the pot on the stove
  • Add the pumpkin pieces. Make sure that all the pumpkin pieces are completely covered with water
  • For hearty pumpkin recipes, add a little salt (alternative: boil the pumpkin in vegetable stock)
  • Simmer the pumpkin for 15–20 minutes until tender
  • Drain the pumpkin through a sieve

For pumpkin soup: Puree the soft-boiled pumpkin in the multi-chopper or hand blender. For 500 g pumpkin (e.g. B. Hokkaido) there are 400 g of soft, boiled carrots without peel, 600 ml of vegetable stock, 350 ml of coconut milk and the juice of one lemon. Refine the pumpkin soup with 2 tablespoons of butter, a diced onion, salt, pepper and, if you like, with soy sauce and fresh coriander.

Tip for caramelized pumpkin: Boil the pumpkin in sugar water! Add 3 tablespoons of water and 150 g of sugar to 500 g of pumpkin in the pot. Cook the pumpkin until it is soft, the water evaporates and the sugar is caramelized. Sprinkle with cinnamon and enjoy the pumpkin for dessert.

Bake the pumpkin: In the oven

For crispy pumpkin wedges or fries, you simply bake your pumpkin in the oven.

  • Grease the pumpkin pulp with oil
  • Season to taste (salt, pepper, garlic, rosemary sprigs)
  • Alternatively: sweeten the pumpkin with honey or sugar and cinnamon
  • Line the baking sheet with parchment paper
  • Spread the pumpkin wedges, slices or pieces flat on the baking tray
  • Bake the pumpkin for 25 to 30 minutes at 200 degrees

Tip: If you want soft pumpkin to puree, bake it in the oven for 50 to 60 minutes at the same number of degrees.
In the video: Recipe for bruschetta with baked pumpkin

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Video by Aischa Butt

Fry the pumpkin: in the pan

You can also fry your pumpkin in the pan, for example as a salad or grated as a pumpkin pancake. Before doing this, you should boil the prepared pulp in water for 10 minutes so that the pumpkin cooks faster.

  • Heat 2–3 tablespoons of oil or butter in a pan
  • Fry the precooked pumpkin for 3 to 4 minutes on both sides
  • Season to taste

In the video: Recipe for healthy pumpkin pasta from the pan

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Video by Laura Dillschneider

Steam the pumpkin: in a pot or pan

If you want to steam the pumpkin, peel, core and chop it first and then prepare the pumpkin as follows.

  • Heat 2–3 tablespoons of oil or butter in a pan or saucepan
  • Add the pumpkin with a little vegetable stock or water
  • Add fresh herbs, garlic and other spices as desired
  • Steam the pumpkin with the lid closed for 10 to 15 minutes until cooked

Tip: You can enjoy steamed pumpkin like potatoes as a side dish or puree it to make a pumpkin soup or a sweet pumpkin pie to prepare.
In the video: How to conjure up a delicious pumpkin pie latte from the pumpkin puree

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Video by Aischa Butt

Toasting pumpkin: In the toaster

As a low-carb alternative, you can now use pumpkin toast instead of bread and butter. To toast the peeled and pitted pumpkin, you go as with Sweet Potato Toast to.

  • Raw pumpkin in approx. Cut 1 cm thick slices (size like normal toast bread)
  • Toast the pumpkin slices in the toaster about twice on the highest setting

Then the pumpkin toast should be cooked through. If you want your slice to be softer, toast the pumpkin again. You can top the pumpkin toast as you like: hearty with feta, smoked salmon, ham, tomatoes and mushrooms or sweet with peanut butter, chocolate cream, cream cheese and sliced fruits (bananas or strawberries).
In the video: This is how you toast sweet potatoes according to the same principle

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Video by Aischa Butt

Tip: Alternatively, you can puree soft pumpkin (boiled, baked or steamed) to make a delicious sandwich. Or you can use sesame paste (tahini), lemon juice, garlic, cumin, pepper and salt to make a spicy pumpkin hummus for dipping.

Freeze the pumpkin and preserve it

Depending on the variety, pumpkins are in season in Germany from the end of July to November. But because the vegetables as a whole can be kept for up to 8 months if stored in a dry and cool place, you can simply stock up on pumpkins for the winter.
A pumpkin that has already been cut will stay fresh in the refrigerator for a week at most. In order to keep the opened pumpkin or the finished pumpkin puree longer, you can freeze the pumpkin:
1. Peel, core and roughly chop the raw pumpkin.
2. Pumpkin short (max. 2 minutes) in a saucepan with water.
3. Drain the pumpkin through a sieve and rinse with cold water.
4th. Place the pumpkin in the freezer bag or an airtight can in the freezer compartment.
Tip: Note on the freezer bag or can how many grams of pumpkin you have frozen per serving. You should also note the date. Frozen pumpkin is approx. Shelf life 4 to 5 months.

Roasting pumpkin seeds: This is how it works

The pumpkin seeds also taste great - especially when roasted. That's how it's done:

  • Wash the pumpkin seeds and remove them from the fibers
  • Soak the kernels in lightly salted water overnight
  • Pumpkin seeds in a bowl with neutral vegetable oil (e.g. B. Sunflower oil)
  • Season to taste (salt, pepper, paprika, curry, cumin, sesame)
  • Or sweeten to taste (honey, sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg)
  • Fry the kernels in a pan with a little oil

Nibbles the roasted pumpkin seeds as Party snack at a movie night or use it as a crunchy topping for your pumpkin soup or your morning muesli.
As you can see, when you cook pumpkin, you can get more out of the autumn vegetables than you thought. We hope you enjoy copying and trying out!