What parts of a pumpkin are edible?
Here’s a quick food trivia question for you: What parts of a pumpkin are edible?...
Spoiler alert – it’s a trick question! The correct answer is that ALL parts of the pumpkin are edible (although you wouldn’t want to eat the dried stem – yuck!).
Pumpkins are in the squash family, called “Cucurbits,” and all parts of all squash are edible – leaves, vines, fruit, seeds, skin and roots! Not every part of every plant tastes delicious though, so use your discretion. Eating pumpkins requires a little bit of advance thought – kind of like the old saying “knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit, but wisdom is knowing it still doesn’t belong in a fruit salad.”
To start off with, if you’ve carved a lot of Jack-o-lanterns with your family over the years, you’ve probably toasted the seeds at some point. They are delicious with a little oil and salt, popped right into a toaster or oven. These are usually a delicious bet, regardless of pumpkin varietals.
If you’re eager to eat the flesh or skin of a pumpkin, your best bet is to look for a varietal that is grown for its delicious flavor. These “pie” pumpkins are usually smaller and rounder in shape than their larger counterparts, and can be found in most grocery stores this time of year labeled “pie pumpkins.” The flesh can be steamed or roasted, eaten plain or pureed for soups and pie fillings. Some folks even eat the skin or “guts” (the stringy part) or use them in making veggie broth.
If you’re lucky enough to have access to some other heirloom varieties, there are some delicious specialty pumpkins such as Blue Hubbards or Cinderella Pumpkins that are especially delicious. These varieties are so colorful that you’ll often see them sold in the mixed display bins with their other, less delicious, decorative gourd cousins.
Good luck with all your pumpkin projects this fall, and feel free to tag us on social media with any culinary creations you’re particularly stoked about!