by Kate Heyhoe
Full Pumpkin Recipes List (below)
Q: Which weighs more: the world's largest known pumpkin or the average sumo wrestler?
A: The average sumo wrestler weighs in at 336 pounds. Akebono, the Hawaiian Sumo Champion, tips the scales at a mere 507 pounds, while in 1996, the world's largest known pumpkin weighed a whopping 1,131 pounds.
Akebono's gargantuan weight may be an asset in his world, but bigger pumpkins aren't always better.
If you're looking for a cooking pumpkin that tastes good, stay away from big pumpkins—they're perfect for jack-o-lanterns and soup tureens, but their flesh is flat-tasting and stringy.
Instead, look for the smaller sugar pumpkins—they're sweet and non-stringy. At about 3 to 6 pounds, they have a shorter shelf life and are hard to find after Thanksgiving. They include such varieties as Sugar Pie, New England Pumpkin Pie, Baby Bear, Triple Treat and Lady Godiva, although most markets just call them pumpkins. Some 99 percent of the pumpkins stocked in markets are the huge field variety. If your supermarket doesn't stock sugar pumpkins, try a farmer's market or whole foods store.
Pumpkins can be cooked like any winter squash by baking, roasting or microwaving. Boiling or steaming results in a more watery flesh. Here are a few other items about pumpkins:
I use canned pumpkin in, of all things, meatloaf. The nutritious pumpkin purée adds a silky moistness and a rich, subtle flavor without making the meatloaf taste like pumpkin pie (add extra breadcrumbs or eggs to compensate for the added moisture of the pumpkin).
Pumpkin—it's a good thing, even for sumo wrestlers. For more pumpkin treats—beyond the usual Thanksgiving pie—check out the recipes below.
The Global Gourmet
Kate's Global Kitchen for October, 2000:
Copyright © 1997-2007, Kate Heyhoe. All rights reserved.
This page created October 1997 and modified October 2007
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