How to Cook Fresh Pumpkin for Pie or Soup

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Boz knows; where there are pumpkins, there is pie.
Boz knows; where there are pumpkins, pie is not far behind.

With my front porch buckling under the weight of pumpkins, and winter bringing up the rear, I’m eager to do something with the bounty before me. Two things come to mind: pumpkin pie and pumpkin soup. But first things first, let me show you how I cook and process the pumpkin to a more workable and storable state for use in the kitchen.

pumpkins on a chair
Winter Luxury Pie pumpkins (left) and Galeux d’Eysines pumpkin (right)

Step by Step Guide: How to Cook Fresh Pumpkin for Pie and Soup

  • Most important step: Choose the right type of pumpkin
    • Cooking the pumpkin is easy; finding the right type of pumpkin is more of a challenge.
    • Don’t use a jack o’lantern pumpkin (watery and flavorless).
    • Little sugar pumpkins found in most grocery stores are also pretty disappointing, again watery and flavorless.
    • Use culinary pumpkins or sweet winter squash, usually found at farmers markets or specialty markets, e.g., sweet meat*, candy roaster*, galeux d’eysines*, winter luxury pie*, butternut squash or acorn squash.  (*my favorites)
    • If you can’t find any of the above pumpkins or squash, stick with canned pumpkin. It’s still a good option.
Winter Luxury Pie pumpkin, four pounds a piece
Winter Luxury Pie pumpkins at four pounds apiece.
  • Remove stem and cut the pumpkin in half.
Meaty on outside, seedy on the inside
Meaty on outside, seedy on the inside
  • Place halves upside down on a foil, parchment paper, or Silpat-lined cookie sheet.
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Pumpkins on parchment for easy clean-up
  • Bake the pumpkins at 400 F. degrees until meat is soft, and yields to a fork or knife.
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One hour later the pumpkin meat is soft.
  • Scoop out the contents of the seed cavity, and set aside. You can also scoop out seeds before cooking (your choice).
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Roasted seeds make a great snack.
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The pumpkin flesh is soft like a baked potato.
  • With a spoon, scrape the flesh from the skin and place in a bowl.
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2.5 pounds of flesh from a 4-pound pumpkin
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Process cooked pumpkin until smooth and creamy, usually a 1-2 minute run time.
  • Fresh puree can have a high water content. If making soup, this is not a problem.

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  • For pie puree, I remove excess water by placing the puree in a sieve or strainer for an hour or two.
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Four pounds of pumpkin puree (Galeux d’Eysines) yielded two cups of strained liquid, which I keep for soup stock.  Winter Luxury Pie pumpkins yield less water, in my experience.
  • If you wish to freeze, place one pound of puree in a freezer bag. Flatten bag, remove air and freeze on cookie sheet to make for easy stacking in your freezer.
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Pumpkin pie on demand!

There you have it, roasted and pureed fresh pumpkin ready for your creative culinary adventures. Stay tuned, I’m trying out a new pumpkin pie recipe, which of course I will share in the coming days.

17 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Perri, Good question. If I’m pureeing pumpkin, I usually make more than I need at the immediate time. A little extra in freezer allows me to make a quick pie when the spirit moves me.

  2. Very timely entry, Tom. I have a pumpkin sitting on the counter waiting to be made into something. Steve has been pushing for pumpkin bread. Do you have any good recipes??

    A pat on the head for Boz and Gracie!

    • Hi Karen, my Mom has a great recipe for pumpkin bread. Let me dig through my recipe file (I’m quite unorganized) and send it to you. Boz and Gracie send their love. Cheers!

  3. Great isn’t it? I have been doing this since my
    Kids were babies. My son is 45. Wonderful stuff! I
    Must freeze w my sealer though and take less room

    • Thanks Brooks, I’ve been hunkering down indoors this week, building fires and test baking. The greenhouse is in dire need of care, but I’m awaiting a warming spell. Yep, I’m a wimp. 😉

  4. Thanks for reminding me the best way to freeze it. Saves rooms and
    I forget my sealer. I’ve been doing that since my kids were little and my son
    turned 45 this year. I usually like cooking it down to get off the extra
    liquid because it smells so good.

    • So true Miss Swiss 😉
      I was amazed how much liquid was released from my Galeux d’Eysines pumpkins. Really creamy textured meat, but best for pie, only after drained a day.

  5. Hi Tom, your pumpkin looks delish. Last time I made a turkey/white bean chili, I added pumpkin, and it was great! Have to admit, I used the canned stuff. I have friends who grow “Sweet Meat”, perhaps they’ll share some with me. They make pumpkin pie with it, and it is wonderful! (I always get myself invited over there for Thanksgiving).

    • Thanks Anne, I checked out the recipe. Um, um, it sounds great, especially the chicken thigh, mushroom substitution. I have a bag of chanterelles in fridge begging to be cooked in a different way. The goulash looks like something I could promote to worthy leftover status days later. Thank you, again.

  6. Such a timely post Tom. I had bought one of these adorable pumpkins at WholeFoods and the thing started shriveling within a couple days. Should have baked it right away! Back to square one now. Looking forward to reading about your new recipes!

  7. Thanks Joumana, I was just thinking of you. I want to make mamouls and your recipe is the one I will use. I know I’m out of season with them, but now I have a little more time to cook and try out things I’ve been missing.

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