Using fresh pumpkins as an alternative to the canned variety is simpler than most people think. Once we learned a few tricks, we found out it’s easy to cut a pumpkin, and even easier to peel a pumpkin. Read on and see if you agree.
Pumpkin is a popular fall squash that is versatile and inexpensive. Cutting and peeling a pumpkin for use in various recipes can be a daunting task but you can tackle it with these simple steps.
We are surprised to learn that many of the people who prefer fresh pumpkins are intimidated by their lack of knowing where to start. While it’s true that sometimes the most difficult part of enjoying a pumpkin is cutting it open, the steps below will resolve that for you.
Are you wondering when you would use a fresh pumpkin?
If you cut the pumpkin, then roast and puree it, you can substitute it one for one with canned pumpkin in any recipe. We use it in some soups, pancakes, dinner mains, cakes, and of course, pumpkin pie.
Often we like to serve roasted pumpkin cubes as a side dish or make a hearty soup. For these recipes, we need to peel the pumpkin after we have cut it in half. This straightforward process is also outlined below.
Importantly, edible pumpkin varieties are a healthy addition to mains, sides, and even desserts.
The pumpkins we eat are generally different from the ones used as Halloween jack-o-lanterns. However, you can use the method below to cut the pumpkin.
Types of pumpkin for eating
The definition of a pumpkin seems to vary quite a bit, often including a variety of winter squashes. After doing a bit of reading, we believe this list from Gardening Know How is a great representation of the best pumpkins for eating (and cooking).
- Cheese pumpkin
- Cinderella pumpkin
- Jarrahdale pumpkins (this is the one we get in New Zealand, therefore the one used in the step by step photos below)
- Lumina pumpkin
- Peanut pumpkin
- Pie pumpkin
- One-Too-Many pumpkins
Health Benefits of pumpkin
Pumpkin is low in calories while being rich in vitamins A and C, beta carotene, potassium, fiber, and antioxidants. According to Healthline, it also may protect eyesight, boost immunity, lower cancer risk, and promote healthy skin.
How to cut and peel a pumpkin
Prep time: 1 min Active Time: 20 min Total Time: 21 mins
Difficulty: Easy, but takes a bit of strength
What you need to peel or cut a pumpkin
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- One pumpkin, any edible variety.
Instructions to peel and cut a pumpkin
1. Clean the pumpkin
Wash and clean the pumpkin with water and a vegetable brush.
2. Pierce and cut the pumpkin
Place the pumpkin, stem side up, on a sturdy cutting board and pierce the skin next to the stem with a sharp broad blade knife. Push the knife as far into the pumpkin as it will go. It does not have to pierce the opposite side.
While holding the pumpkin, use the knife handle to rotate the blade down through the side of the pumpkin towards the cutting board.
3. Cut and separate the halves and remove the seeds
Remove the knife from the pumpkin and insert it in the opposite direction so you can slice through the other side of the pumpkin.
The pumpkin is either in 2 half pieces or can be broken apart to yield 2 half pieces.
Scoop the seeds out of the pumpkin. While you could discard these, we like to roast the pumpkin seeds.
4. Peel the pumpkin
Place one of the half pieces flat side down against the cutting board and using a sturdy vegetable peeler, proceed to remove the skin from the pumpkin’s surface. You will have to change directions and angles or hold the pumpkin half on its side to remove all the skin.
Repeat for the second half of the pumpkin.
More on cutting a pumpkin
This technique can be used on most pumpkin varieties.
Pumpkins can have a very long shelf life (months depending on variety).
An added benefit of using a whole pumpkin is that you can scoop the seeds from inside and roast them for a tasty and healthy snack.
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Do you now have the confidence to peel and cut a pumpkin?
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