A few days ago I acquired a pumpkin. One of the PNG ladies who works part of our garden (it is too big for just Becky and me, so we share the space with a couple of nationals) gave it to us. Now PNG pumpkins are not the big round orange ones like we would carve at Halloween. They are smaller and green, more resembling a squash.
"Hmmm... a pumpkin," I thought. "What in the world do I do with this?" So as with any question about living and surviving here, I called Kathy Radcliffe (who knows just about everything) and she gave me the save. Apparently you can cook them in the microwave, boil, or bake in the oven, puree, serve as a side dish, top with butter or brown sugar. All sorts of good things. Who knew pumpkins were so useful?
On my day off I was inspired to do something with this lil green pumpkin. I cut the thing in half, spooned out the seeds, and placed the two halves in a pan in the oven for about 45 minutes. While it was baking, I cleaned and boiled the seeds. These were subsequently tossed with olive oil and later toasted in the oven. (I think the toasted seeds are my favorite part!) Timer went off. The pumpkin was pulled from the oven and allowed to cool. I scooped out the tender flesh and pureed it in the blender. Half of the puree became the base for pumpkin pie and the other half will be frozen and used for a future pumpkin experiment such as bread or ice cream. I used Aunt Naomi's famous pie crust recipe and discovered why it is so good (though mine not quite as good as hers)... it uses a TON of shortening (or butter in my case, 'cause you can't get shortening in PNG). Becky made home made whipped cream to top the pie... deeeeeelish! And much better than anything you could ever make with an avocado.
So just in case you ever wondered, that is how you cook a pumpkin.
P.S. Canned pumpkin is not available here in PNG. If we could buy it, I don't think I would be quite so industrious.