Wednesday, September 23, 2009

How to Cook a Pumpkin

Buying a can of pumpkin at the store is a simple way to make a pumpkin pie. But for us "make it yourself" cooks, starting with a big hard vegetable is the way to go! It really isn't hard, just takes a little time.
First wash the pumpkin. Or winter squash. Use a pumpkin that is good for eating.

In these photos, you'll see three small Red Kuri winter squash that are similar to the Hubbard squash. I bought the seed from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. Their selection of squashes is amazing! And overwhelming!

Do not peel the pumpkin. Pumpkin flesh is hard, if they have been cured properly. I'm sure I would cut myself if I tried to peel a pumpkin - and there is an easier solution! Cook before peeling!

Cut the pumpkin in half. Scoop out the seeds. Lay the pumpkin skin side up on a baking sheet.

Bake at 350 degrees for an hour or so.

Allow to cool enough to easily handle.

Now you can easily peel off the skin - or just scoop out the pulp.

Place in a blender and puree.

Sometimes I need to add a small amount of water so that it blends properly.

Use the puree just like canned pumpkin in recipes. I have found that cooked pumpkin spoils quickly. If I don't plan to use it within three days, I freeze in 1 or 2 cup portions. I've also pressure canned pumpkin, but this year I am nearly out of jars.

The skin and seeds may not look appealing to your, but our chickens think it is wonderful!
The final product form my pumpkin puree was pumpkin bread, muffins and pumpkin pie squares! And none of this went to the chickens!


  1. Thanks so much with sharing about how to make this stuff...I have always wonder about those pumpkins in the store so now I can actually try this out. Thanks again and I will share what I do.

  2. I have discovered that peeling the pumpkin when it is still hot saves a lot of the flesh that would cling to the skin when cold. I use either a fork or tongs and start where I poked the pumpkin with a fork to see if it was done. The flesh tends to collapse there and it's a good starting point. I have to be careful not to get burned but I do get a lot more usable pumpkin that would normally cling to the cold peel.

  3. I'm impressed! I will be "cooking" my pumpkins this way from now peeling tough skin, no burned pumpkin on the bottom of my kettle, and best of all - lovely, smooth pumpkin. I scooped it out while it was still very hot and didn't need any water to blend it. Thanks again Gina!

  4. I go one step further and strain the puree in a very fine mesh bag that I have. I squeeze the extra liquid from the pumpkin so that I have a more solid texture. I have found that this makes all the difference if you are making pies from the puree. They get watery after baking if I just use the puree, but are perfect if I squeeze that extra liquid out to begin with. One thing about doing it this way, your pumpkin does not go nearly as far as just the puree.

  5. I use an ice cream scoop to get cooked pumpkin out of its skin.


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