Cook Your Next Meal In A Pumpkin To Mimic The Effects Of A Crockpot

When pumpkin season rolls around, our first thoughts typically drift toward cozy sips of pumpkin spice lattes; every autumn-lover's yearly go-to. With pumpkins being as versatile a fruit as they are (yes, they're technically a fruit!), there are a million different ways to get creative with them. The moisture inside of a pumpkin's flesh gives off steam when hot, so that means you can use pumpkins as a cooking vessel. The result is crockpot-style steamed ingredients that are juicy and moist, all while the heat stays inside for optimal cooking. While we obviously can't plug food into an outlet for a heat source like we would with a crockpot, a pumpkin placed in an oven will give a similar effect.

To master this trick, you'll have to first clean your pumpkin to remove any dirt. Next, create a "lid" by carving a hole into the top. Angling the knife towards the center of the pumpkin will ensure that the lid stays on during baking. This is very important as it's what keeps the steam inside. Finally, scoop out all the seeds and pulp, which you can use in the filling, depending on the recipe you're making. You can now fill the pumpkin with basically anything; meats, rice, pasta, and even desserts all work well here.

Fun food ideas to try cooking in a pumpkin

A common choice for using pumpkins this way is a "stuffed" version similar to stuffed peppers. Called "dinner in a pumpkin," this recipe features ground meat such as Italian sausage or beef, rice, and vegetables. After everything bakes, the walls of the pumpkin come out along with the meat, making for a hearty autumn meal. Alternatively, chicken is ideal for this trick because the pumpkin's moisture keeps the meat tender and juicy.

Not only can you use large pumpkins to mimic a crockpot but you can work with mini ones as well. Try combining meat and rice with various vegetables, nuts, fruits, and stuffing the mixture inside of multiple mini pumpkins for individual servings. This way, you can eat directly out of the pumpkin, a perfect fall option for hosting a dinner party. If meat isn't your thing, vegan and vegetarian choices work great. Spinach, mushrooms, cheese, pecans, brussels sprouts, and cranberries are all flavor profiles that go well with pumpkin.

If you were thinking that savory dishes are the only cuisine that can be made inside of pumpkins, guess again. One of the best things to cook inside of these fleshy vessels is cheesecake. Due to a cheesecake's need to stay soft and moist, all of the steam coming from the pumpkin is ideal for creating that perfect, fluffy custard-like filling that makes cheesecake amazing. Notably, other moist desserts like bread puddings and baked apples are worth trying as well.