General Question

Beta_Orionis's avatar

Can you cook and eat a carving pumpkin?

Asked by Beta_Orionis (3410points) October 14th, 2009

More importantly, are they tasty?
I’ve always assumed they would taste similar to butternut squash or something.

It has been brought to my attention that the pumpkins whose meat go into pies are in fact different than those that come from pumpkin patches!

Have you ever cooked and eaten a pumpkin intended for carving?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

34 Answers

dpworkin's avatar

Yes, but there are better pumpkins for cooking.

poofandmook's avatar

Here is a link telling you how to cook pumpkins to make your own puree.

fireinthepriory's avatar

I’ve never done it. I was going to, but a friend told me that they’re mealy compared to baking pumpkins, so I didn’t try.

wundayatta's avatar

You can, but it’s like eating cow corn instead of sweet corn.

RedPowerLady's avatar

You can use carving pumpkins for eating but they are often too large and are bred for carving not eating. However as I find with most squash the smaller the better tasting. I hate big squash. You will find what most people use for baking and eating are smaller pumpkins as well. This site tells about different varieties of pumpkins that are better for baking and how to use them:

Yes they are extremely tasty. I’ve also heard that squash blossoms are very tasty.

No unfortunately i’ve never done it myself but I plan to in the future.

christine215's avatar

I’ve only eaten the seeds of the big carving pumpkins (roast them with salt and butter.. mmm, sprinkle some chili powder on them, more mmmm)

(squash blossoms are very good. my grandmom used to serve them all kinds of ways, stuffed, fried… also sweet potatoes or yams make a tasty pie!)

dpworkin's avatar

James Beard (Olev H’a Sholom) was not a man to be trifled with when it came to cooking, and he insisted that since he couldn’t distinguished canned pumpkin from fresh baked pumpkin, he always used canned. Just sayin’.

janbb's avatar

I always assumed a pumpkin was a pumpkin was a pumpkin. Am I wrong?

jbfletcherfan's avatar

@janbb Me, too. Who knew? Obviously, we’re not pumpkin experts, LOL.

dpworkin's avatar

You are wrong Father William, and your hair is exceedingly white.

Darwin's avatar

I have routinely toasted the seeds of carving pumpkins. The kids enjoy eating them. I have also used the flesh of a carving pumpkin to make both pumpkin soup and pumpkin pie. It was good, but tasted pretty much like canned pumpkin. The one problem is that carving pumpkins tend to have more water in the flesh, so pies end up with extra liquid or not setting correctly. It wasn’t noticeable in the soup.

Also, carving pumpkins tend to be enormous and you don’t need that much pumpkin to make a few pies.

breedmitch's avatar

For eating, look for the smaller pumpkins also known as “sugar pumpkins”.

janbb's avatar

@pdworkin I may be “wrong,” Father William, but you are old.

rooeytoo's avatar

Try brushing oil on chunks of pumpkin, sprinkle with the spices of your choice and grill them on the barbe or under the broiler, it really is good.

I know there are many varieties of pumpkin and squash but I never realized there was a specific type for carving!

Darwin's avatar

For carving you want the big ones that are lightweight for their size and that have a medium-hard shell. If the flesh is too thick the candle light won’t show well, and if the shell is too hard you will have a hard time carving it.

Eating pumpkins tend to be smaller and heavy for their size, with meat that is sweeter and less stringy, and yes, they are called as a group “sugar pumpkins.” Some popular eating varieties are profiled here

dpworkin's avatar

I am so fuckin’ old that as my eyebrows become more sparse, my ear-hair becomes more lush. Don’t ever be an old Jew.

timothykinney's avatar

Make sure you roast the seeds in the oven or in a skillet. They are delicious!

Beta_Orionis's avatar

@breedmitch So I just heard! Not sure I’ve ever seen one though. I’ll have to hunt them down!

laureth's avatar

It’s exactly as @daloon says. The big Jack O’Lanterns are bred for size, and pie pumpkins are bred for flavor. I suppose you could cook up your Hallowe’en decoration, but it won’t be as tasty as the right one for the job.

Similarly, there are sheep bred for meat, and sheep bred for wool. You could spin the wool of a meat sheep, but it won’t be soft and nice – and you could eat a wool sheep, but it won’t be as tasty. You get the idea. Different qualities for different purposes.

ru2bz46's avatar

A couple years ago, we teamed up with the Dept of Fish & Game and did a pumpkin shoot at our archery range. I brought home a pickup-load of carving-pumpkin carcasses. My wife and I butchered them and cooked them down to the consistency of canned pumpkin, then canned them. The pies they make are every bit as good as you get from the “pie pumpkins”, but the effort involved was crazy. For every four carvers, we got the same amount of usable mash that we got from a single smaller pie-maker.

In other words, yes, you can, but why would you want to (after the first time)?

Beta_Orionis's avatar

@ru2bz46 That’s really surprising!

I suppose my description is also a little misleading. After learning that there are specific pumpkins good for pies, the thought of carving pumpkins used for that activity left my mind. I am curious as to whether anyone has eaten a carving pumpkin as one eats baked/steamed squash.

I can understand the breeding having ignored flavor, but I still figured they’d have a more savory/vegetable taste when cooked.

ru2bz46's avatar

I’ve eaten the carvers baked and steamed, but they have a lot more water than the others, so they aren’t nearly as enjoyable. They kinda turn to mush when heated. That’s why it took so long to reduce them to can the pulp. We were just trying to evaporate all the water. I’d eat the carvers again in a pinch, but I certainly wouldn’t buy one with the intention of feasting.

Beta_Orionis's avatar

@ru2bz46 Ah. That makes sense!

laureth's avatar

One year, in an effort to be less wasteful, I cooked up the “cutouts” – the pieces that had been where the eyes, nose, and mouth were on the carving pumpkin. I was less than impressed, although the seeds are still good.

cookieman's avatar

It is true that Sugar Pumpkins are for eating and Field Pumpkins are for carving.

You should also try Turban, Chicago Warted and Cheese Pumpkins – all delicious.

For unique carving pumpkins, try a Blue Pumpkin, Cinderella or Fairytale Pumpkin. White or Popcorn Pumpkins are neat too.

skfinkel's avatar

Pumpkins are great, but get a sugar pumpkin. They are the ones for eating. Then make pumpkin soup, and you will be very happy:

Pumpkin soup: 1 10–12 lb. pumpkin (can be smaller) Carve out the top.
6 qts. chicken stock
½ celery diced
½ cup diced carrots
½ cup diced green beans
1 cup cooked chicken meat
grated Gruyere at the end on top.

Empty out the pumpkin (bake those delicious seeds), and season with salt and pepper.

Put the cooked chicken inside.

Put all the other ingredients together and boil for about five minutes. Then add it to the pumpkin and replace the lid. Put the whole pumpkin into a big dish, so if it leaks, it won’t go all over the oven.

Cook for about 1½ hours at 350. Put lots of cheese on top and let it melt in.

Bring to the table in the container you cooked it in, and how lovely it is!

As you serve the soup, make sure to scrape the sides so everyone gets a bit of the tender pumpkin. Yum.

timothykinney's avatar

You could also make a watermelon-o-lantern. That would be delicious.

Beta_Orionis's avatar

@skfinkel Thanks for the recipe!

@timothykinney I wonder how long the hull would last!

laureth's avatar

I’ve been considering getting a big industrial size can of pumpkin, emptying it, leaving the label on, and cutting out a face. Stick a candle in, and it’s a post-industrial Jack O’Lantern.

rooeytoo's avatar

@laureth – I love that idea, reminds me of an Andy Warhol pumpkin or something like that. pop art, that’s what I mean!

janbb's avatar

Here’s the definitive answer of where pumpkin pie filling comes from according to my husband. (May take a while to load but it’s worth it.)

fduggan's avatar

I just buy any pumpkin that looks good. I peel, cut in chunks and cook in the pressure cooker for 5 minutes. It makes a smooth soft mash. Then I freeze, or use as puree. You can drain it somewhat, and you can also cook it down to dry it out, it will make tasty recipes. Make an Afghan dish, with tomato paste, garlic, fresh ginger and salt and a little sugar. Tastes like the butternut squash puree I’ve had elsewhere. The jack o lantern pumpkin I had this year made 8 pounds of puree, and I froze some to use later. It would be great for soups or anything with more liquids. You can drain it too to dry it. Face it, that’s why they have spices- for any pumpkin is a bit bland without the seasoning and salt.

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther