Last year’s pumpkin crop was not good and actual pumpkins were hard to come by. That has affected the canned pumpkins this year and several local stores told me they weren’t going to get canned pumpkin in until Thanksgiving. If you’re anything like me, you want to start using pumpkin in recipes before then which is why I wrote this easy guide to cook a pumpkin from scratch. It’s very simple to do although it takes some time.
1) Pick a pumpkin from the store or patch. Look for one with smooth skin and no bruises or scratches that is bright orange in color. Pie pumpkins are 200-250 millimeters (8-10″) in diameter. Tap it and it should sound hollow, which means it’s ripe.
2) Bring it home and wash it.
3) Cut the stem off with a knife.
4) Cut it in half and scoop out the pumpkin seeds with a tablespoon. I placed these on another tray to make roasted pumpkin seeds.
5) Place both halves of the pumpkin face down on a cookie sheet. Drizzle a little olive oil over the top.
6) Cook for 1 and a half hours at 300 degrees.
7) After it’s cooled, scoop out the inside with a spoon and place in a blender.
8) Add a little water to the blender to help it blend and then liquify.
9) A regular size pie pumpkin will produce around 5 cups of pumpkin puree which is easily frozen in ziploc bags until you need it.
When you use it in a recipe 1 pound of fresh pumpkin meat equals: 2 cups cooked pumpkin; 1 cup of puréed; 2 cups of cubes; or 3-1/2 cups of freshly grated pumpkin meat.
Frozen pumpkin should be used within 3 months.