October 6, 2014—Fearlessly Archived—Still a fun read; price & availability may have changed.
Most of the fresh pumpkins you see are intended for decoration. Sure, you can eat them; but it can be a hassle. Their skin can be thick and very difficult to cut through, their flesh often tends toward significantly seedy, and by the time you get everything cut and ready to cook, you've more or less lost your will to cook. Fear not. For you who would like to prepare fresh pumpkin for purees, and pies, and the like, Trader Joe's has the Pie Pumpkin, a variety of sugar pumpkin that's sweet of flesh and thin of skin, excellent for eating and relatively painless to prepare.
Trader Joe's Pie Pumpkins are medium-sized, naturally sweet pumpkins. They're roundish, in the vicinity of 8-10 inches in diameter, and come in at approximately two pounds each. Their skin is not as thick as their decorative pumpkin siblings, and their flesh is easier to cut - because it's a smaller pumpkin, there are fewer seeds and fibrous strands inside, making the "scooping out" process a little simpler as well.
You can cook Pie Pumpkin just like you'd cook a butternut or acorn squash - cut it in half, scoop out the seeds and strands, season it to taste and roast it in a 350ºF oven for about 60-90 minutes, until it's as soft as you like it. You can also peel the skin, cube it, and roast it that way. Did we mention it makes a terrific pumpkin pie? It's also a terrific value, at $1.99 for each Pie Pumpkin. You'll find them in our produce section.
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