How To Choose A Pumpkin
In the past several years, pumpkins have started appearing on menus as savory soups, appetizers, and main courses because they are delicious and, bonus, they are packed with nutrients. Here's a quick guide to picking the perfect pumpkin and a scrumptious pumpkin pizza recipe in which to sink your teeth.
Fall is here, the leaves are starting to turn, and the pumpkin patches are filled with beautiful pumpkins of every shape, size and color. You know what that means? That's right, it's time to hit the kitchen and cook some pumpkin! We're not talking dessert, either.
Pumpkin picking tips
Before making pumpkin pizza or any pumpkin recipe, there are a few things you need to know about picking the perfect pumpkin for cooking.
1. Jack o' lanterns are not for eating
The pumpkins grown in commercial patches before Halloween are not for eating. They were bred specifically to keep their structure as they are turned into jack o' lanterns or used for holiday decor. Pumpkin culinary rule No. 1: If a pumpkin can survive being dropped off a porch, it is not good eats.
2. Pick pie pumpkins
Instead of jack o' lantern pumpkins, opt for sugar pie pumpkins (sometimes called pie pumpkins) which are about the size of a softball. These winter squash favorites have a delicate sweetness that blends very well with other ingredients. Sugar pie pumpkins are also good to cook with because they become very tender when cooked. In fact, they are so soft you do not even need to peel them, however you certainly can after they cook because the outside skin will be chewier than the pumpkin flesh.
3. Be choosy
When you buy your pumpkin -- whether it be at the grocery store, farmers market or small pumpkin patch -- choose a sugar pie pumpkin that is free of deep tears or scratches on the surface and feels heavy for its size. Double check the flat part of the pumpkin (the part that touched the ground while the pumpkin grew) and make sure it is not moldy, soft, or torn as this is a good indication the pumpkin is rotten.
Time to get cooking!
Makes 1 (10- to 12-inch pizza)
With a sugar pie pumpkin in hand, you can make this amazing pizza recipe. It does take a little time (about an hour) to make, but there is very little effort required and it's so deliciously worth it! Pumpkin and Italian food go hand-in-hand because pumpkins have an affinity for tomato or cream sauce.
Variation: If you would prefer a white pizza, spread goat cheese on the crust instead of marinara for an entirely different and delectable taste experience!
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