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How To Prepare Fresh Pumpkin

Posted By Suzanne McMinn On December 8, 2007 @ 7:28 am In Extras,The Farmhouse Table | 4 Comments

Preparing fresh pumpkin is oh so worth it! Once you taste pumpkin pie made from fresh pumpkin, you’ll never go back. The most common pie and baking pumpkins include Sugar or Sweet Pie, Small Sugar or New England Pie, and Sugar Baby. Choose a pumpkin that is heavy for its size, which means more moisture and lower chances of the flesh being dry or stringy. Don’t refrigerate unless cut. Stored in a cool, dry place, pumpkins can be kept for a couple months before being used. Depending on the size of the pie and baking pumpkin you choose, you can count on getting two to four cups of puree per pumpkin.

If you’re planning to prepare puree for baking, cut out the stem then slice the pumpkin in half. Scoop out the seeds with your hands or a spoon and scrape out the strings. Rinse in cold water. If all you want to do is roast the seeds, cut or smash the pumpkin open to remove the seeds only.

(Note: Other winter squash may be prepared with this same method.)

How to Cook Pumpkin
*Microwave–place pumpkin halves face-down on a microwave-safe plate and cook on high for approximately 15 minutes.
*Oven–place pumpkin halves face-down on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 for an hour to an hour and a half.
*Stovetop–boil in a cup of water in a large covered pot approximately 30 minutes. (It’s not necessary for the water to cover the pumpkin.) Or, steam pumpkin for about 15 minutes.

Test for doneness with a fork. Pumpkin is ready when it’s tender and fork slides easily through outer skin.

Preparing Puree
Scoop cooked pumpkin out of skin. Puree with a masher or food processor. Pumpkin puree should be the consistency of mashed potatoes.

Puree Storage
Fresh pumpkin puree can be substituted in equal amounts in recipes calling for solid-pack canned pumpkin. Use immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to a week. For longer storage, place in freezer bags or containers for as long as twelve months.

How to Roast Pumpkin Seeds
Remove pulp or strings from seeds. Rinse and dry seeds. Place seeds in a bowl with a few teaspoons of olive oil (depending on amount of seeds) and sprinkle with salt to taste. Roast on a cookie sheet in a 375-degree oven until golden. Store in an airtight container.

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