Tips for Peeling and Slicing Fresh Pumpkins

Sometimes, pumpkin in a can just won’t do a recipe justice. Fortunately, you do not need a lot of time in order to prepare fresh pumpkins. To bring the delightful taste of real pumpkins to your table, here are a few tips for peeling and slicing this delicious type of squash.

Pumpkins, like many squashes and gourds, come in a variety of shapes, sizes, textures, and flavors. Some of the squashes that have warts or striations on their surface may look intimidating. However, no matter what your pumpkin looks like on the outside, the technique of peeling and slicing them is the same.

First, you will need a sharp chef’s knife. Using a longer and larger knife will allow you to peel the skin easily. You will not be able to use any kind of peeler for this job because pumpkins usually have thick skin. Do use a large knife, but you do not have to use a butcher’s knife. Additionally, if your knife is sharp, you won’t lose too much of the meat. Make a base so that your pumpkin can “sit” on your work surface. You can even put a lint-free kitchen towel down onto the surface so that your pumpkin doesn’t move too much while you peel it. To make a “base,” you simply lay the pumpkin on its side and cut off the bottom. At this point, you can also cut off the top, too.

Now, the pumpkin should be steady and stable enough for you to start peeling. Again, using a chef’s knife, begin peeling off about 1″ or 2″ wide strips. Start from the top and slowly work down to the bottom. You do not need to cut very far down; just peel the outer layer enough to preserve as much of the meat inside.

Once your pumpkin is peeled, it’s time to remove the seeds and slice it. Cut the pumpkin in half. Use a large metal spoon to scoop out the seeds and the fibers that are entangled in the center of the squash. You can now either save the seeds for next year or throw them away. When all of the insides have been scooped out, it will be very easy for you to slice the pumpkin halves lengthwise, and then dice them into 1″ or 2″ inch cubes.

When your pumpkin is diced into the desired shape and size, it’s ready to cook for pie, soup, or any recipe that calls for pumpkin.