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.