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How to Prepare a Pumpkin for Cooking in Soup
Preparing Pumpkin for Making Soup
Pumpkin soup is a great fall favorite at this author's house. One of my favorites is a variation of Martha Stewart's roasted pumpkin and crimini mushroom soup.
You can also use the same technique you use for preparing pumpkin for soup with various kinds of squashes such as butternut.
Toasted pumpkin seeds make a great garnish for pumpkin soup. Soaking them in salt water for a few hours can help make them more palatable. Rinse them under running water in a strainer to easily separate the membranes from the seeds.
There are many different varieties of pumpkin so be creative in trying different kinds like white pumpkins.
Look for pie pumpkins for a delicious alternative to canned pumpkin. It's a little more hassle peeling and cutting up pumpkin but the benefits are worth it in terms of flavor.
Watch my video below for a detailed visual presentation on how to prepare pumpkin for using in soup.
How To Cut a Pumpkin Up for Soup
STEP 1: Get a pumpkin. Wash and dry it.
STEP 2: Dampen a bar towel or dish towel and place on cutting board. This is to hold the pumpkin in place and prevent it from rolling around while trying to cut it increasing the risk of cutting yourself.
STEP 3: Using a sharp knife, with the pumpkin lying on its side, cut the top off the pumpkin.
STEP 4: Cut the bottom off the pumpkin in the same manner.
This helps the pumpkin sit flat on the cutting board.
STEP 5: Using a sharp knife, with a downward cutting motion, cut the peel from the pumpkin.
You can also use a vegetable peeler but it is sometimes harder and more tedious because of the grooves and bumps in the pumpkin skin.
The finished peeled pumpkin will have no remaining skin on it.
STEP 6: Using a large knife, cut the pumpkin in half.
STEP 7: Using a zester or a spoon (grapefruit spoons work great too), scrape out the insides of the pumpkin.
Be sure and save the seeds for toasting. Place in a strainer and under running water, separate the seeds from the membranes.
STEP 8: Working with 1/4 of the pumpkin at a time, cut the pumpkin into strips.
STEP 9: Cut the strips into chunks. Depending on the size of the pumpkin, measure in dry cup measure for amount recipe requires. This pumpkin ended up yielding about 8-12 cups of pumpkin.
What You Can Make with Fresh Pumpkin
Don't forget to try roasting it. You can shake it in a freezer bag with a little bit of oil and seasons, toss with things like crimini mushrooms and roast for a delicious way to start your soup--or just have as a side vegetable.
You can bake, poach or steam pumpkin until fork tender and then mash and use in soups, stews, pies, muffins and more.
Basically anything you can use squash in, you can substitute pumpkin.
Anything you find a recipe for with canned pumpkin can be substituted for with real cooked pumpkin. Use an immersion blender or masher to get it to be smooth.
Pumpkin is a great vegetable packed full of nutrition. It also freezes well as puree or in chunks.