How to Prepare and Cook Fresh Pumpkin
For clarification, fresh pumpkin can be bought in Israel in any vegetable store. They are massive and are therefore sold in wrapped chunks, usually kept near the salads in the refrigerator section, and are called “DaLa’at”. They are bright orange in color and are loaded with vitamins and flavor.
In the States, pumpkin has a smaller and more rounded appearance and is usually sold as a late fall vegetable. It will cook up and bake the same way, but the coloring may be somewhat different.
Those who cannot get fresh pumpkin for the baked items I will be showing can substitute canned pumpkin, but please note that the fresh comes out and works so much nicer. Besides, it’s a bit healthier also…
To prepare fresh pumpkin
Take the pumpkin pieces that you bought, wash off the outside rind well with a sponge and soapy water, and fill a large pot with 3 inches of water.
Cover the pot and cook the pumpkin pieces until they are just turning soft, about 30 minutes.
Turn off the flame and leave the pot covered so the steam will cook it the rest of the way, about another 10 minutes.
Uncover the pot and let the pumpkin cool off until you can handle it easily without burning yourself.
Pluck out each piece, scoop out the pumpkin into a clean bowl and discard the rinds.
Mash with a fork or potato masher until just mashed but not completely pureed.
Drain again by hand, squeezing out the excess water – gently! You don’t want to kill it, and a little bit of liquid in it is fine.
Now it is ready for use. Measure the amount you need as you do each recipe.