How to cook a fresh pumpkin

How to Cook Fresh Pumpkin

We’ve been having unseasonably warm weather here in Georgia. So it’s only when I go to the store and see the pumpkins that I’m reminded that it’s fall and Halloween and Thanksgiving and it’s time for cooking fresh pumpkin!

While there’s nothing wrong with canned pumpkin, you may want to cook fresh pumpkin from scratch for your fall baking and cooking needs. It’s easier to do than you think, plus you have the option to cook pumpkin seeds, too!

Pumpkins can be turned into soups, casseroles, side dishes, breads, cakes, cookies, pies, and preserves.  In addition to its wonderful flavor, pumpkin is filled with vitamin C, beta-carotene, potassium, and fiber.

How to cook a fresh pumpkin

Start with small sugar pumpkins, about two to three pounds. Make sure to use sugar pumpkins, which are sweeter in taste than carving pumpkins.

First, wash the pumpkins over running water and pat dry with a clean dish towel or paper towel.  Next, cut the pumpkin into large chunks and scoop out all the seeds (save them for roasting!) and stringy bits.

There are several easy ways to cook pumpkin flesh. Use whatever method is best for you.

Cook fresh pumpkin in oven:  Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Place pumpkin chunks, skin side up, in a glass baking dish.  Add 1/4 inch of water and bake, uncovered, for 45-60 minutes (depending on chunk sizes) until flesh is tender, checking occasionally to add more water, if needed.

Microwave pumpkin: Place pumpkin chunks, skin side up, in a glass baking dish that will fit in your microwave.  Add 1/4 inch of water and cover pan with plastic wrap or wax paper, and vent.  Microwave on high for about 10 minutes (or about 5 minutes per pound) until pumpkin is tender.

Steam pumpkin: Heat water to boiling in a saucepan fitted with a steamer basket.  Place pumpkin chunks in steamer and place over pan.  Reduce heat to medium and simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes or until pumpkin is tender.

How to cook pumpkin in a slow cooker: Place pumpkin chunks, skin side down, in slow cooker.  Cook on low for 3 to 3-1/2 hours or until pumpkin is tender.

Learn how to cook fresh pumpkin for Halloween and Thanksgiving recipes. It's easier than you think! Plus two ways on how to cook pumpkin seeds. Click to get the pumpkin puree recipe!

How to make fresh pumpkin puree

  1. For all methods after pumpkin is cooked, scoop out pulp and discard skin. 
  2. Pulp can be pureed in a high speed blender or food processor. Or you can use a potato masher to puree the pumpkin until smooth. If desired, you can keep it chunky. 

A two to three pound pumpkin will make about 2-1/2 cups of puree. The pumpkin puree will keep in the refrigerator for a week. It can also be frozen in airtight containers for six months. 

Cook Fresh Pumpkin with a Blendtec Total Blender, FourSide JarBlendtec Total Blender, FourSide JarCook Fresh Pumpkin with a Cuisinart 14-Cup Food Processor, Brushed Stainless SteelCuisinart 14-Cup Food Processor, Brushed Stainless SteelCook Fresh Pumpkin with a KUKPO Stainless Steel Potato Masher for Smooth Mashed Potatoes, Vegetables and FruitsKUKPO Stainless Steel Potato Masher for Smooth Mashed Potatoes, Vegetables and Fruits

Once you have a batch of pumpkin puree, the sky’s the limit! Here are some pumpkin recipes for you to try.

How to cook pumpkin seeds

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. 
  2. Place seeds in a colander and rinse. 
  3. Pick out all pieces of pulp. 
  4. Place seeds on a baking sheet and pat dry. 
  5. Drizzle a little vegetable oil over seeds and sprinkle with some salt and toss. 
  6. Bake for 10 minutes, stir, and return to oven. 
  7. Bake another 10-15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes until golden and crispy.

Another method to cook pumpkin seeds that I like is the boiling method, which gets the seeds nice and salty.

  1. Boil the pumpkin seeds in very salty water for 20 minutes.
  2. Pour seeds and into a colander to drain water.
  3. Place seeds on a baking sheet and pat dry with a paper towel.
  4. Drizzle a little vegetable oil over seeds.
  5. Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees, stir, and return to oven. 
  6. Bake another 10-15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes until golden and crispy.

Sign up now to get a copy of my FREE e-cookbook 10 Pumpkin Recipes for Fall!

 

Originally published on October 4, 2011. Updated with new pictures and information.
Photo credit: Adobe Stock.

Want to know how to cook fresh pumpkin for Halloween and Thanksgiving recipes? It's easy to do! Plus two ways on how to cook pumpkin seeds. Click to get the pumpkin puree recipe!

7 thoughts on “How to cook a fresh pumpkin

  1. Carolyn

    How do you tell if a pumpkin is a sugar pumpkin? I didn’t think they were different except for size, shape, and color. Thanks!

    Reply
  2. Anna

    I make pumpkin soup witha very simple and fast recipe: in a pressure cooker add some evo oil, 1 sliced leeks, 2 sliced carrots and pumpkin in pieces and 1 water glass.Steam for 5/6 minutes then use a minipimer to reduce to purea. Add water to your desidered consistency and serve with parmigiano reggiano and a bit of parsely.

    Reply
  3. Elsie

    Thanks for the great tips! I just got 2 pumpkins in time for Canadian Thanksgiving, so I’ll get to eat some soon enough! It’s my first year of purchasing pumpkins too! Thanks for the great post!

    Reply

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