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Can You Eat Those Cute Little Decorative Pumpkins?
Submitted by Pam on Thu, 10/07/2010 - 01:09
You absolutely can eat these little guys! They are delicious!
And they may just be the way to get your kids to try out winter squash!
Rebecca (Roots and Wings) and I are working together on a little project for November to make good use of any leftover mini pumpkins; but in the meantime, I thought it might be fun to share what my Sweetie and I have found out about eating them!
I have to give my Sweetie credit for baking the first ones at our house. I was a bit dubious when he told me he had heard from someone at the farm that they were edible.
If you are inclined to follow in his footsteps - a word of caution - be sure you buy from a farm or make sure the pumpkin hasn't been treated. I saw some gourds for sale at a local upscale market today that looked as it they had been covered with at least 8 coats of glossy Mod Podge!
Baking is easy! Here's how.
Using a paring knife, cut around the stem making sure you cut through the flesh into the cavity.
The tip of the knife works great for popping off the top.
Scoop out the seeds and pulp, making sure to get the ones hiding under the top edge.
Cleaning out the seeds and pulp is very easy.
Place the little top back on the pumpkin, set on a cookie sheet lined with foil, and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
Your pumpkin is done when the little top shrinks away from the rest of the pumpkin and the flesh gives when you apply gentle pressure. (See my thumb prints?)
And this is where communication between husband and wife broke down! I asked my Sweetie to prepare the little pumpkins as he had before - which was to add butter, maple syrup and a bit of salt - right inside and mix it up.
But that wasn't the way he did it this time! I turned around, camera in hand, just in time to catch him pouring syrup over a lovely pile of mashed pumpkin! Oops!
Not exactly how I planned things to go - but - as it turns out, this bit of miscommunication was useful in pointing to a better way to prepare the pumpkin filling.
So - I baked another one! Wanting to let it cool a bit before I scooped out the insides, I sat down to answer a few e-mails! Big mistake! I forgot all about it for about two hours. When I returned to the kitchen, my lovely little pumpkin was all wrinkly.
You can't imagine how thrilled I was!
I guess there is a lesson here - like - serve relatively soon after baking!
Although brown sugar or pancake syrup work just fine, I highly recommend adding maple syrup along with a little butter and a bit of salt. A sprinkle of cinnamon is yummy too! Mash everything together until well mixed.
Put the filling back into the little pumpkin.
Replace the top if you like and serve. If your pumpkin has a long stem on it, you can certainly leave it on for fun! And I am thinking that drawing a little jack-o-lantern face with those special pens designed for decorating cookies would just add to the fun! Wish I had some around here.
It is very hard to determine if these little pumpkin are ripe and sometimes you may come across one that is green. My recommendation is to purchase a couple extras just in case. We have only run across a couple - but it does happen - (and in this case, I am glad it did).
Also, I do not recommend that you eat a little pumpkin that you have allowed to sit around as a decoration for a full month. And, we have found that they are best if you purchase them early in the season rather than at the end of the season.
They seem to get bitter as they get old. At least that is our experience. FYI.
But don't let that dissuade you from trying them out. They are so, so sweet and have a very smooth texture. With a little sweetening and a touch of cinnamon, I can't imagine most kids not loving them.
Let me know what YOU think!
Did you know there are many, many many varieties of winter squash? For fun and a little winter squash knowledge, check out this link to the Pumpkin Patch wholesale squash guide. There are 23 different winter squash varities pictured with hints for storage, use, flavor and texture.
And you can find more info about storing, cooking, and even roasting seeds right here!
Anyone posted a winter squash recipe lately? Why don't you place a link to your recipe in the comments! Thank you!