Pumpkin season, better known as Fall, is just around the corner, and we can’t stop thinking about all of the things we can make with pumpkin. Pumpkin pie, stuffed pumpkin, pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin soup, pumpkin pancakes — there are enough possibilities to add pumpkin to every meal.
For someone who doesn’t often cook with pumpkin, the idea of having to clean one for the first time can seem challenging. Cutting it open and scooping out its seedy, stringy insides doesn’t seem all that appealing at first. But don’t let that deter you from making delicious home-made pumpkin dishes, because cleaning a pumpkin is actually very easy, and we’ll show you how.
We’ll help you by walking you step by step through the process and you’ll see that the product — the sweet taste of pumpkin from one of your favorite recipes — is worth the effort.
To encourage you to make all of those pumpkin recipes you’ve been eager to try, here’s a five-step guide on how to clean a pumpkin. We’ll walk you through everything from washing and cutting a pumpkin, to scooping out its seeds and flesh. So put those Halloween pumpkin carving tools down and get ready to cook with some pumpkin.
Wash and Inspect
Just like any fruit or vegetable, you must wash your pumpkin (only water is necessary) to remove any dirt that may be lingering from the pumpkin patch. In case your pumpkin got banged around somewhere along its journey to your kitchen, you should check for any soft, squishy, or rotten spots. If you find them, cut them off.
Cut It Open
Now you’re ready to slice open your pumpkin. Roll it over on its side and look to see if your pumpkin has grooves running from the stem to the bottom. If it does, then great, you can use those to guide you when you cut. If not, set some imaginary lines to follow as cutting guidelines. Take a knife and cut along a groove or your imaginary line so that it slices through the bottom. Now turn the pumpkin around, and find the start of the cut you just made. From there, dig your knife in again and cut up to the stem. You don’t need to worry about cutting the stem off because you’re getting rid of it in the next step, anyways. Now that one side is sliced, roll the pumpkin over and find the split where you cut through the bottom. Stick your knife back in and cut up to the stem. You’re almost there — you just need to open your pumpkin. From the cut at the bottom, use your fingers to pull the halves apart. Keep pulling until the stem snaps in half.
Haley Willard is The Daily Meal's assistant editor. Follow her on Twitter @haleywillrd.