Tuesday, March 19, 2013

How to Cook Pumpkin {Cut the Cans!}

I, for one, had been dragging my feet on cooking off fresh pumpkin to use in recipes. Why? I don't really know. Maybe I thought it would be too much work. Maybe I was afraid it wouldn't look or taste right and my family would reject it. My first attempt at growing pumpkins in 2011 failed, with many blossoms but know pumpkins on the vines.

Fortunately this last year, the pumpkins kept on growing! The vines went all over the place and although we did loose a lot of baby pumpkins (to what I'm not exactly sure, they just seemed to get "knocked" off the vine) I was happy to get these two. They weren't entirely ripe and we had our first frost, but luckily I read online that you can finish ripening them in a warm sunny spot, i.e. our front window!

As you can see they ripened quite nicely!

Step 1: Wash off pumpkins (you don't want any bugs or dirt in your pies now, do you?), take out one oven rack and lower the other rack to the lowest position and heat oven to 350.
Step 2: Take sharp knife and jab lots of little holes around the pumpkin. (Why yes, I did enjoy doing this, why do you ask?)
Step 3: Place pumpkins on cookie sheets with enough water to cover the bottom of pan without spilling all over the place.
Step 4: Bake in oven until fork easily pokes into the pumpkin. Time will depend on the size and thickness of the pumpkin but check after 45 minutes or so. You may also need to add more water a few times to the sheet during baking.
Step 5: Cut pumpkin in half and check the flesh for softness with fork. I found that my pumpkins were not quite done after cutting them so I put them back in for a while which worked fine.
Step 6: Scoop out the seeds.
Step 7: Rinse the seeds, pat dry with a paper towel. Lightly oil with olive or palm oil, salt, and place in 350 degree oven. Stir after 5-7 minutes, repeat after another 5-7 minutes. Taste test to see if they are done, they should be crunchy and they remind me of popcorn when done. They will keep in an airtight container for a few days and if they get soggy you can reheat to crisp them back up.
Step 8: Scoop out the pulp getting as close to the skin as possible. Process in food processor until smooth (will take a few batches, may need to add a sprinkle of water if a little dry).
Step 9: Allow to cool before freezing.
Step 10: Freeze or use right away in a recipe. Will keep in the fridge for a few days.

Pumpkins after baking.


  1. this is great. I always wondered how to cook a pumpkin! thank you for the step by step directions!

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. You're welcome! I don't know why I didn't do it sooner, plus you get the added benefits of pumpkin seeds to munch :)


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