Some of you out there will look at this post and think, "duh... it's not rocket science." But many people really have no clue what to do with a freshly harvested pumpkin... other than carve a face in it and place a candle inside on Halloween. This year, I grew an abundance of pumpkins and winter squash, and have already sold most of the heirloom varieties at the market. Most customers were buying them for decorations - but I made sure to tell them that they shouldn't just throw it out when they were done. Bake it! Make a pie, some pumpkin soup, pumpkin bars, pumpkin roll... the list goes on (and if you don't believe me, just come to the Circleville Pumpkin Show Oct 20-23... you will see the many amazing uses of pumpkin).
Second step: Use a large spoon to scoop out the seed and rind. If using an heirloom... save the seeds to plant next year!
Third step: Place the pumpkin or squash in a baking dish filled with about a half inch of water.
Fourth Step: Bake in a 350 degree oven until the flesh becomes soft and squishy. This pumpkin took about 40 minutes. Just open the oven every now and then and prick it with a fork to test it. You can also prick it (like you would a potato) to allow it to cook it more quickly and evenly. Don't take it out of the oven until it is soft all the way through. It is now time to scoop out the flesh, leaving the shell behind.
The next step is to take this pumpkin flesh and puree it in your food processor. You will probably need to add a little milk or water to get a nice smooth consistency. Since I made soup, I made mine pretty fine textured. If you're cooking a pie, you might want to leave it a bit more stiff, like canned pumpkin you would buy in the store. As you can see the light yellow color of the Speckled Hound is quite different from many darker red pumpkins.
Final Step: Take the pumpkin skin and rind out to the chickens (or your compost bin if chickens are unavailable). And there you have it! You have cooked your very own pumpkin! Much more rewarding than using canned pumpkin from the store. And besides... wasn't there a huge canned pumpkin shortage this year?
Come on down to the farm and pick out a pumpkin to cook up. You can even bring your rinds to our chickens when you're all done.