There are many ways to turn pumpkin into the healthiest meals for all in the family, but the thing about this luscious fruit is \u2500 all of its beneficial goodness is encased inside a tough, almost impenetrable, woody exterior. This makes getting at the pumpkin\u2019s flesh quite a time-consuming, labour-intensive job. Imagine spending hours hacking away at an impossible shell to peel the fruit!\r\n\r\nBut not anymore. With these three easy tips on how to get at the pumpkin\u2019s flesh without breaking a sweat, soon you\u2019ll be whipping out pumpkin desserts and curries and stirfries or even baby weaning food like a masterchef.\r\n\r\nThere\u2019s a cool Pumpkin Pie Parfait and a Pumpkin Butter recipe that\u2019s just perfect for kids\u2019 parties but both call for pumpkin puree which requires removing the skin. While the recipes themselves require no cooking skill and no time to make, how can you puree pumpkin applying the same no-skill and no-time required techniques?\r\n\r\nEasy. Just follow these clever hacks and you will have your pumpkin ready for eating in a jiffy.\r\n\r\n\r\n1. Zap the Pumpkin with the Microwave\r\n\r\n\r\nCut the pumpkin into half (from the top or side whichever you prefer) or buy pumpkin that has already been cut up by the supermarket or store so you save on time and brute strength wielding a knife for this trick.\r\n\r\nAfter removing the seeds with a spoon, poke the pumpkin all over with the tines of a sturdy fork. Place it in a microwave-safe dish, pour in a little water (like 1cm) and microwave on high for three minutes. Let it cool down, then using a knife to nick the skin for grip, use your fingers to peel off the rest of the skin. It should come off in big pieces with no resistance.\r\n\r\nIf you zap the pumpkin a little longer, like say five to eight minutes and it gets cooked more, it turns very soft inside, almost like it\u2019s already pureed. Wait for it to cool down (the pumpkin retains heat for a long while), turn it over and you can scoop out the insides with a spoon.\r\n\r\n\r\n2. Steam or Bake the Pumpkin while still in its shell\r\nAlternatively, you can steam the pumpkin after it has been halved and cleaned but cooking it this way will take far longer. If you use the steamer, it will take about 50 minutes to an hour depending on the size of the pumpkin.\r\n\r\nOr you can bake it in the oven.\u00a0 If using the oven, place the pumpkin halves cut side up on a baking tray and bake in a preheated oven at 375\u00ba F for about 15 minutes (small), 30 minutes (medium), 45 minutes (large), or until you can poke a fork in and the flesh feels tender.\u00a0 (You can also roast the seeds at the same time this way).\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nNote: If you cook the pumpkin before peeling, the flesh will always be in pureed form.\r\n3. Cut a Raw Pumpkin using a Knife or Y-Shaped Peeler \u00a0\r\n\r\n\r\nIf you want your pumpkin raw, firm and in chunks to make curry or a stirfry, then it is best to de-skin the pumpkin prior to cooking. Now this method will definitely take more than three minutes but some recipes call for pumpkin to retain its form in cubes or chunks.\r\n\r\nCut the pumpkin into strips according to the ridges. Use a long sharp chef\u2019s knife. Cut from top to bottom. Once you have all the crescent-shaped strips, use your Y-shaped peeler to whittle off the skin. \u00a0Don\u2019t worry, the peeler will strip off the skin easily.\r\n\r\nIf you want the job done quicker, after cutting your strips, cut those strips still with the skin on into chunks. Now using your knife, slice the skin off by cutting them downwards on to your chopping board. You may take off a bit more flesh this way than with a peeler, but if time is of essence, then the knife is much faster.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nAnd there you have it \u2500 raw pumpkin cut into chunks ready for cooking any way you want.\r\n\r\nHealth facts: Pumpkins are packed with vitamins and minerals that support heart and eye health, boosting immunity, reducing the risk of chronic diseases and supplementing dietary fibre. To reap its benefits, incorporate the pumpkin into the family\u2019s diet regularly.\r\n\r\nFor more great tips on how to get your meals done faster, visit Motherhood.com.my.