I love pumpkins! I love them in soups, pies, pancakes, smoothies, cakes, lattes and so much more! Once you learn how to cook pumpkin and make your own pumpkin puree, I promise you’ll never want to go back to canned pumpkin.
If you’re using canned pumpkin for your pies and recipes, you’re missing out on a lot of flavor (and a gorgeous color!).
Here are my tips for preparing fresh pumpkin for use in lots of easy pumpkin recipes.
How To Cook Pumpkin
It doesn’t take long to cook pumpkin, and you can freeze it for using later.
Before you cook your pumpkin, scrub any of the dirt off of it, rinse and dry it (to make sure it doesn’t slip out of your hand when you try to slice it up).
Once cleaned, the pumpkin will be ready to cook. My favorite cooking method is baking, but you can also steam it, boil it or microwave it. You can even grill it on the barbecue 😉
How to bake pumpkin
The simplest way is to halve the pumpkin, scoop out the seeds and place in a hot oven (around 375°F or 200°C) for up to an hour depending on the size. It’s done when it starts to collapse and is nice and soft.
Allow to cool before you scoop out the flesh. Scrape the pulp from the shell, mash it or put it through a ricer or food processor.
I never waste the skin either. My dog loves it, and it’s a good source of fiber and vitamins for her. Don’t give the dog huge amounts though. The rest goes in the compost to help grow the next batch ;).
How to steam pumpkin (or boil it)
Alternatively, you can boil or steam large chunks of pumpkin flesh until it is soft.
Pumpkin takes about 10 minutes to boil or steam depending on the size of your chunks. Try and keep the pieces more or less the same size so they cook evenly. Its done when you can just get a knife through it.
Tip – if you boil, don’t overcook it, or it will be really watery. If this happens, leave it to stand for half an hour and drain off the excess water. You could also put it in a muslin bag and leave to drain for longer if it is really watery.
Here’s a quick video that shows how simple it is to boil and puree pumpkin.
How to cook pumpkin in the microwave
You may wonder if you can cook pumpkin in the microwave, and the answer is YES.
Instead of putting in a pan or steamer, place the chunks in a microwavable bowl and add a bit of water at the bottom.
Cover with cling wrap, and pierce a couple of holes in it to let the steam out. Microwave on full power for a couple of minutes, then check to see how its going.
If your microwave doesn’t have a moving turntable, then turn the bowl at this stage. You will probably need to check each minute after this, depending on how much pumpkin you are cooking. Once you can easily put a knife through the pumpkin its done.
Drain well, and puree in a blender, with a masher or for a really professional finish why not use a ricer?
You can freeze the cooked pumpkin for use in lots of recipes later on.
Now you’re ready to start cooking lots of yummy and easy recipes 🙂