How to Prepare & Cook Fresh Pumpkin
Once You Go Fresh, You Won't Go Back
A lot of recipes call for canned pumpkin, but you will find recipes that call for fresh pumpkin. You can also replace canned pumpkin for fresh even if a recipe calls for canned.
Pumpkins are easy to handle and cook once you know how. Here are some methods that I've found helpful. A lot of these are tips that have been passed on to me from friends and family.
Once the pumpkin is cooked, simply use a food processor or blender to whip it into a puree.
You can store unused portions of the puree in the refrigerator or freeze in ziplock bags until you are ready to use it.
If you compare the fresh version to the canned (sight, smell, and taste), you will definitely choose fresh every time. When it is so easy to make, why wouldn't you?
Option #1: The Oven
- Cut pumpkin open and scoop out the seeds.
- Place pumpkin halves facedown in a baking dish.
- Add 1/2" of water to pan (this helps keep the pumpkin flesh moist).
- Bake at 450º until you can pierce the skin with a fork (about 45 minutes to an hour).
- Scoop flesh out of shell with a spoon.
Step-By -Step Pictures of Option #1Click thumbnail to view full-size
Option #2: The Microwave
- Cut pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds.
- Cut the pumpkin into large chunks (so it will fit in microwave), leaving skin on.
- Place pumpkin chunks in a shallow, microwave-safe dish with a lid (or cover with plastic wrap).
- Spray the cut pumpkin surfaces with cooking spray, and cover. Cook on high for 15 minutes, or until tender (feels soft and cooked).
- Alternately, you can add water to the dish, eliminating the spray, to keep the pumpkin from drying out.
Option #3: The Stovetop
- Cut pumpkin in half, scooping out the seeds.
- Then, cut pumpkin into large chunks, but leave the skin on.
- Place chunks in a large steamer basket (or a colander placed inside a dutch oven with water on the bottom).
- Steam for 20 minutes, or until pumpkin is tender.