Choosing a good fruit or vegetable is not a matter of luck. With a few simple keys you can take home the best pieces, and today we are going to teach you how to choose a good pumpkin, among other useful things, such as how to peel it without sweating or endangering your fingers.

In the video at the end of this article we tell you all about it, and we also show you the most common varieties of pumpkins that you can buy in your greengrocer’s shop. They are the peanut squash, the carruecano and the roteña valenciana. And in Peris we work them all, because we are specialists in pumpkin and we have it all year round.

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The peanut squash is the most common of all and is perfect for use in creams and sautés, as is the carnecan. For its part, the roteña pumpkin is ideal for roasting in the oven. In fact, that variety is the one we use for our famous roasted pumpkin.

Tricks to choose a pumpkin and not to fail

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If you want to choose a good pumpkin, the first thing to look for is its skin. Make sure there are no wounds. Pick it up and feel its weight. You have to feel it firm and consistent, with a logical weight according to its size, because otherwise you may choose a dehydrated pumpkin and its pulp will not be as juicy as it should be.

If you buy pumpkins in halves, the first recommendation is that you do so, preferably, if it is refrigerated, since if it is at room temperature it can favor the growth of pathogens, and this can put food safety at risk.

The second recommendation for choosing the best pumpkin half is that the one you take home should have as small a seminal cavity as possible. If you see that it has many filaments or germinated seeds , it will be an old pumpkin and its organoleptic values (aroma, flavor, texture, firmness, color…) will not be the same. The color will also give you very good information, the more intense the orange, the better.

How to preserve pumpkin at home and peel it easily

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For our pumpkin to last in perfect conditions until the day of its consumption, we recommend storing it in a cool, dry and ventilated place, you can even keep it outdoors. Therefore, we recommend that you avoid storing it in the refrigerator, as long as the piece is whole, of course. As soon as you peel or cut it, then, yes, the refrigerator will be the best place to keep it.

If peeling a pumpkin is a challenge for you, here’s a good tip: forget the knives and use a peeler. You will peel it very easily and will not endanger your fingers. In any case, we advise you to try cooking the pumpkin with the skin on, because whether it is roasted, boiled or fried, the skin becomes very soft and you won’t even notice it when you eat it.

Another option to save time in the kitchen is to buy the pumpkin already peeled and chopped. This format of fresh-cut pumpkin is the most convenient because you only have to open the package and cook. Here we tell you more
about how we work with fresh-cut fruits and vegetables at Peris.

Can pumpkin be frozen?

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If a whole pumpkin is too big for you to consume at once, you have the alternative of freezing it, because yes, pumpkin can be frozen.

You can also freeze it in different ways, here are 3 options:

  • Freeze raw pumpkin:

In this case the correct procedure would be to peel (although if you are going to consume it with skin, you can also freeze it with it) and chop the pumpkin. Once you have it ready, put it in a freezer bag or airtight container and try to extract as much air as possible. If you can vacuum pack it, all the better.

However, keep in mind that when you defrost the pulp will have lost firmness, it will be very soft, so the use we could give it would be for stews or creams.

  • Freeze cooked pumpkin:

Another way to freeze pumpkin is cooked. You can sauté it, blanch it, boil it or roast it and divide it into optimal portions to be able to manage it well when defrosting.

  • Freeze the pumpkin puree:

If you already know that you want to consume pureed pumpkin, then you have it easy. Boil or roast it and then puree it. Store it in containers that are optimal for freezing and take out servings based on your needs.

According to our tests, when you defrost it, you will find it in two phases, pulp on the one hand and water on the other, so you will need to pass it through the blender again to homogenize it.

If you have little time to cook on a daily basis, this is a good system to always have healthy food available.

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How long does frozen pumpkin last?

If you are wondering how long you can keep the pumpkin frozen, there is no 100% correct answer because there are several factors that influence it, including the efficiency of your freezer.

According to the Spanish Agency for Food Safety and Nutrition (AESAN), the deadlines would be as follows:

  • 1 star (*) Reaches -6°C and should only be stored frozen food for up to one week.
  • 2 stars (**) Operates at -12°C and should only be used to store frozen food for up to one month.
  • 3 stars (***) Reaches -18°C and should only be stored frozen food for up to 3 months.
  • 4 stars (****) Reaches temperatures below -18°C and is suitable for freezing fresh food for long-term storage.

How to defrost pumpkin or any food correctly?

The process of thawing a pumpkin, as well as any food, is very important. It is best to place it in the refrigerator, in the coldest part of the refrigerator, so that the defrosting process is gradual. If you are going to cook it with a recipe that has some liquid, such as a soup or a sauce, you can also incorporate it frozen, as you do with any frozen vegetable. However, the best thing to do is to plan ahead, take the food out of the freezer at least 12 hours in advance and thaw it completely in the refrigerator.

If you want to know more about the correct processing of frozen foods, you can consult this AESAN document.

If you have any doubts about the consumption, use and conservation of pumpkin, you can ask us. We will be happy to answer all your questions. We give a lot of this kind of advice in our social networks. Follow us on Instagram, Facebook or LinkedIn so you don’t miss any of them. And now, we leave you with the promised video 😉