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.
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.
- Remove stem and cut the pumpkin in half.
- Place halves upside down on a foil, parchment paper, or Silpat-lined cookie sheet.
- Bake the pumpkins at 400 F. degrees until meat is soft, and yields to a fork or knife.
- Scoop out the contents of the seed cavity, and set aside. You can also scoop out seeds before cooking (your choice).
- With a spoon, scrape the flesh from the skin and place in a bowl.
- Puree pumpkin flesh in a food processor or with hand immersion blender.
- Fresh puree can have a high water content. If making soup, this is not a problem.
- For pie puree, I remove excess water by placing the puree in a sieve or strainer for an hour or two.
- 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.
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.
Hi Tom, I’m curious why you freeze the squash-do you usually grow more than you can eat during the winter?
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.
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!
What a wonderful photo of all those beautiful pumpkins! My husband would be in heaven with a freezer full of homemade pumpkin purée!
Wish I could send you some in the mail. 😉
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
Hi Tom ! What a beautiful punkin crop !!!! And thanks for the cooking tips. Stay warm, Friend !
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. 😉
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.
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).
Lucy that is a great tip. In fact one of my favorite stews where I use pork rather than the called-for venison, is this recipe from The New York Times: Hunter’s stew with pumpkin and hominy – http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/19/dining/191frex.html
From my pumpkin patch to yours, congratulations on a generous haul. May I recommend a recipe as well? (I followed other reviewers’ suggestions and used mushrooms in place of the potatoes, and chicken thighs when turkey is unavailable or too dear.) We liked this so well it immediately went into the rotation: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Pumpkin-Turkey-Ghoulash-with-Caraway-Noodles-240083
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.
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!
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.