How To Prepare Fresh Pumpkin


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.)

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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.

See this post at Farm Bell Recipes and save it to your recipe box.

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Posted by Suzanne McMinn on December 8, 2007  

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4 Responses | RSS feed for comments on this post

  1. 12-8

    I just threw out a pumpkin and took only the seeds because I remember the boiling method which was a mess. The microwave method seemed a lot easier!!

    The poll didn’t work for me. I told me I had already voted! Probably just a glitch.

    Love the new look.

  2. 10-25

    I made homemade pumpkin puree’ yesterday and it seemed too thick. I added a little water a Tablespoon at a time and measured it all and place into freezer bags ready for recipes. THEN I re-read your post of “how-to” and saw that you said it should be the consistency of mashed potatoes. I know I don’t like my mashed pot’s quite as “wet” as my puree’ is. Do you have any suggestions? Is it ruined? It isn’t to the point of being pourable, just a little moist.


  3. 10-25

    Angela, I don’t know how many tablespoons of water you added, but if it was me, I’d go ahead and use it because I wouldn’t want to waste it! I don’t add water when I mash pumpkin at all. My guess would be that when you make a pie with it, the baking time on the pie might be longer because of the added moisture in the pumpkin, but that’s just a guess.

  4. 10-14

    I find that my pumpkin is often almost runny. It will take a little longer to cook, but that is never a big deal. The larger the pumpkin, the runnier it will be as well, as they are more of a squash than a true pumpkin, so I have heard.

    What I did last year and want to do again, is cook the pumpkin with the peel on after I have cut it into many slices. I pile it into a roasting pan with just a touch of water in the bottom so that it doesn’t scorch, cover the roasting pan with the lid and bake it until it is soft when poked with a fork. I do check it as well to make sure it isn’t scorched. When that is all done, I take it out, scrape it off of the peel, put it in the blender, then bag it in medium (4 c.) freezer bags. This way, I have enough ready for 2 pies at a time.

    Come to think of it, I will have to post my mom’s recipe for pumpkin pie on Farm Bell Recipes soon. I have never tasted a better pumpkin pie. She uses honey instead of sugar and it gives the most full-bodied flavor. I like to just make the filling sometimes too, and bake it as is. It is such a healthy snack, and one that I plan to make shortly. Yum! :hungry:

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