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ilikefood

Cooking with giant pumpkins

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Hello:

A friend of mine grows giant pumpkins for a contest and has a pumpkin around 300 lbs and one in the 200 lb range this year. He was wondering if there are any good recipes specifically for giant pumpkin. From what I understand (as I have never tried cooking with a giant pumpkin), giant pumpkins do not have a lot of flavor probably due to the large amount of water they are fed to grow to ridiculous sizes. Would a pumpkin soup work for this massive fruit? Any recipes or ideas to help my friend eat through 500 lbs of orange squash?

Thanks!

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I personally wouldn't cook them up. Back in the day, we used to roll the giant fair pumpkins down a big hill and watch them self-disintigrate. That was cool.

But in the end, I am an economist at heart. I think about the opportunity cost of cooking such a large beast. My mind staggers at the cost of just spicing one of those things up and adding cream and other flavors. You might spend $30+ just in spices and the time will also be significant in prepping and cooking multiple batches. Why not just hand pick some really good and flavorful pumpkins and make something reasonable (in size)? If you have a giant pumpkin (even a 10 pounder) you may spend twice as much time and expense and only use a fraction of it in the end.

Full disclosure: i have never attempted cooking a giant pumpkin: too many people have warded me off. But wouldn't that be horrible to cook up a huge pumpkin, spend a whole lot of time, and spend a lot on seasoning just to have it come out crap? You could set it on the lawn, paint a face on it, and kids would get more enjoyment and it wouldn't cost you anything.

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The best thing you can do is have a charity guess the weight competition at work , cut it up and hand it out!

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I have never grown or eaten a giant pumpkin, so I don't know how helpful this will be, but when my Dad grew some winter squash last year that didn't taste particularly amazing, we pickled them. The ingredients are very simple: spices, salt and mustard oil. If you are interested I have the recipe some where and can dig it out.

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I attended my local giant pumpkin weigh-in on the weekend. The winner was over 1400 lbs -- 300 shy of the world record held by a grower in Ohio. These pumpkins get carved into boats for a charity regatta, then composted.

img_1661.jpg

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If they're over watery, why not boil down and reduce to increase the flavor. Easiest thing to do is a creamy soup. Hardthing will be to rummage up giant soup pots and a range that could cook it. Maybe contact a restaurant and work out a charity free soup thing.

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The giant pumpkins are not fit to be cooked in any way. They are too fibrous and the flesh doesn't really cook down so much as turn to a bundle of stringy fibers in a watery soup that tastes bitter.

A friend and I tried one on a bet one year and the entire effort was a fruitless waste of my time and a lot of ingredients. We tried oven roasting some of it (worth doing with too mature sugar pumpkins or winter squash), stewing it with syrup and even a few small pieces were deep fried.

Nothing we did could produce anything even remotely edible.

These pumpkins are essentially a different species from sugar or pie pumpkins and it is their internal structure that allows them to grow to this size.

Large sugar pumpkins tend to collapse when ripe if they get too big.

It is also not very easy to get a tasty result using a jack-o-lantern pumpkin either. They have a thinner shell, very fibrous and a much lower sugar content.

These latter pumpkins and the giants have to be ground up before the flesh can be composted, otherwise it gets leatherlike and simply won't break down. Even the ants do not like it.


Edited by andiesenji (log)

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Thanks everyone for your input! I will pass this information onto my friend. He will probably be disappointed to hear that giant pumpkins are difficult if not impossible to turn into something edible. Although he will probably try to eat them anyways. :huh:

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One of my relatives, who now lives in southern Illinois, gives his to a pig farmer, who picks them up and later on will reciprocate with some pork or bacon (home cured). The hogs love pumpkin, any type.

Just a thought…


Edited by andiesenji (log)

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what about the seeds? what about GIANT roasted pumpkin seeds? i saw a program not long ago on giant pumpkins and the seeds were HUGE! i was wondering if you could roast and eat them.

ALOT less cracking to do with seeds THAT size. LOL

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I probably wouldn't even worry about the seeds. Big seeds are too fibrous in my opinion. I have had some pumpkins (not giant ones) with very large seeds and they didn't roast up as well. Big pumpkins are just that: big.

Btw, if you go to Hope, AK to the Bill Clinton museum in town you can see pictures of Bill Clinton right next to farmers with giant watermelons.

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