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Ayurveda and Seasonal Recipes: How to Cook a Pumpkin

Did you know that pumpkin is balancing to vata dosha? (This is important because we’re in the season when vata easily goes out of balance). And the pumpkin seeds are good for all three doshas (vata, pitta and kapha)! 

 

So ~ how to cook a pumpkin and the seeds? Here’s how…

 

First of all, make sure that you’re using a small-ish pumpkin, sometimes called a sugar or baking pumpkin. The large jack-o-lantern types are less likely to taste good and may even have an unappealing texture. 

 

To cook the pumpkin, you can either bake or boil it:

 

Baking Method

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Cut the pumpkin in half and discard the stem section and stringy pulp. Save the seeds (we’ll get to them next).
  • Place the two halves in a shallow baking dish (either face up or face down, either will work) and cover with foil. 
  • Bake for about 1½ hours for a medium-sized pumpkin, or until tender.  If you want it to cook faster, cut into smaller pieces. 
  • Once the baked pumpkin has cooled, scoop out the flesh or peel off the rind, and chop, puree or mash it.

 

Boiling Method

  • Cut the pumpkin in half, discarding the stringy insides.
  • Peel the pumpkin and cut it into chunks.
  • Place in a saucepan and cover with water.
  • Bring to a boil and cook until the pumpkin chunks are tender.
  • Let the chunks cool, and then chop, puree  or mash.

 

How to Cook Pumpkin Seeds:

 

  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. 
  • Begin with preparing the seeds: Separate the seeds from the stringy pulp. Rinse seeds in a colander under cold water, then shake dry (don't blot with paper towels; the seeds will stick). Dry the seeds by spreading them in a single layer on an oiled baking sheet, then roast for about 30 minutes.
  • Toss prepared pumpkin seeds in a bowl with some melted butter and salt (or other spices, as noted below).
  • Spread the seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet.
  • Bake for about 45 minutes or until golden brown; stir occasionally.

 

Other delicious spice options for the pumpkin seeds: 

For a sweeter flavor, toss the seeds with cinnamon and natural sugar (such as cane sugar or Sucanat). 

For an Indian flavor, toss with garam masala; mix with currants after roasting.

For a Spanish flavor, toss with smoked paprika; mix with slivered almonds after roasting.

For an Italian flavor, toss with grated parmesan and dried oregano.

For a barbecue flavor, toss with organic brown sugar, chipotle chile powder, and ground cumin.

 

Bon Apetit!