Pumpkin Week: How to cook a pumpkin

Pumpkin Week: How to cook a pumpkin


Apologies friends–it’s been way too long.  I wish I could say I was distracted by the glorious fall weather we’ve had. Unfortunately I’ve been managing content/server issues, trying not to panic all while punishing myself for not creating back up files more often.  Plenty of horror stories float around of food bloggers paying thousands to recover recipes and content that wasn’t saved elsewhere.  No major tech bills to pay here, but scary enough to teach a lesson.  The behind the scenes part is just as important!

To make up for my absence this past week, I’m putting out a week of pumpkin recipes.  Pie pumpkins were out by the hundreds at farmers’ markets this weekend. With a little cooler temperatures heading our way this week it’s a perfect time to celebrate a favorite part of fall.  Granted all the recipes this week can be made with store-bought canned pumpkin, but today I thought I’d kick off pumpkin week by showing how easy it is to make your own pumpkin purée.  It takes a little more time to transform your local pumpkin (there’s a short and long how-to below), but it’s worth it in the end.  What’s better than an opportunity to support a local grower and the satisfaction of something truly homemade?

Two Ways to Cook a Pumpkin 

Ingredients 

pie pumpkins (Not all pumpkins are equal. There’s a difference so ask your grower!)

Instructions for Steaming 

1. Wash the pumpkin, removing any debris and the stem.  Cut the pumpkin in half lengthwise with a sharp knife. Scoop out the seeds (save for roasting!) and any stringy pieces.
2. Place in a steamer basket in a large pot or a double pot steamer with enough water to steam for 15-20 minutes.  Steam the pumpkin over medium-high heat for 10-12 minutes (depends on the size of the pumpkin) or until skin peels away and flesh is soft.
3. Using two forks, peel skin from hot pumpkin. Place flesh in a food processor. Pulse 3-4 times, scrape sides of bowl with a spoon and pulse several more times until pumpkin forms a smooth purée.

Instructions for Roasting

 1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Wash the pumpkin, remove any debris and the stem. Cut the pumpkin in half lengthwise with a sharp knife. Scoop out the seeds and any stringy pieces.
2. Place cut-side down on a baking sheet. Add enough water to just cover the surface of the sheet, this prevents scorching. Roast pumpkin for 45 minutes to 1 hour  (depending on size). Remove from oven when skin can be peeled away with a fork.
3. Allow pumpkin to cool slightly before peeling skin. Place flesh in a food processor. Pulse 3-4 times, scrape sides of bowl with a spoon and pulse several more times until pumpkin forms a smooth purée.

Special Note
Due to its low-acid nature, the USDA currently does not recommend home canning pumpkin. No amount of lemon juice or pressure canner glory will guarantee it’s safety. Instead, pumpkin purée can be frozen in freezer bags or containers for up to one year. To thaw: Remove the container from the freezer and place in a small pot over low heat on the stove to defrost, stirring until smooth.

10 Comments


  1. I always use a food strainer (like this, but 25+ years old: http://www.amazon.com/Victorio-VKP250-Model-Strainer-Sauce/dp/B001I7FP54/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1318259742&sr=8-1).

    With the food strainer you don’t have to peel the skin off, and any tough strings come out the waste end. You could even leave the seeds in if you wanted.

    I don’t have a food processor so I can’t compare to that, but the strainer does work better than a blender or mixer.

    1. Author

      Michael-
      I don’t have one of these, but think I might add it to my wish list. The food processor takes care of most of the stringy pieces, but the seeds still have to come out first. I wouldn’t want to take the chance of having one turn up in a slice of pie!
      Thanks for the recommendation!






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