How to Cook a Pumpkin

Four Methods:BakingBoilingMicrowavingSlow Cooking

In order to soften the hard flesh of raw pumpkin, you must cook it for a considerable amount of time. Once cooked, however, you can store the flesh of the pumpkin in chunks or easily blend it into pumpkin puree. Here's how to cook pumpkin by baking it, boiling it, microwaving it, and slow cooking it.

Ingredients

Makes about 1 1/2 cups (375 ml) puree

  • 1 medium sized sugar pumpkin
  • Water
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp oil and cooking spray
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Method 1
Baking

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    1
    Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degrees Celsius).[1] Set aside a shallow baking dish.
    • The baking dish should be at least twice as wide as the pumpkin so that it can fit two halves.
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    Wash the pumpkin. Rinse the pumpkin under cool to lukewarm running water. Scrub it with a vegetable brush to remove any dirt.
    • Pat dry with clean paper towels.
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    Cut the pumpkin in half. Use a heavy serrated knife to saw the pumpkin in half lengthwise, from the stem down to the bottom.
    • Use a serrated knife since one with a smooth blade is more likely to slip against the tough skin of the pumpkin.
    • Cut around the stem to remove it, especially if the stem makes it difficult to fit both halves in the baking dish.
    • Remove the seeds and inner fibers. A serrated grapefruit spoon works best, but you can also scrape them out with a serrated knife or sturdy metal spoon.
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    Place the pumpkin in your baking dish. The two halves should be cut-side down.
    • Cover the two halves with aluminum foil. Loosely wrap the foil over the exterior of the pumpkin halves or spread it over the entire baking dish.
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    Bake until tender. This should take approximately 90 minutes for a standard sugar pumpkin.
    • You should be able to stick a fork through the skin of the pumpkin, and the flesh should be soft enough to remove with a spoon.
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    Let cool and remove the flesh. Allow the pumpkin halves to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes or until cool enough to touch. Scoop the flesh out using a metal spoon.
    • You can store the pumpkin as scooped-out chunks, but it is more common to puree or mash it before storing it. Puree the pumpkin flesh with a handheld blender, standard blender, or food processor. Alternatively, mash it using a potato masher.

Method 2
Boiling

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    Peel the pumpkin. Use a sturdy Y-shaped vegetable peeler to remove the thick skin.[2]
    • Cut off 1/2-inch (1.27-cm) from both ends of the pumpkin using a serrated knife.
    • Tip the pumpkin onto one side and grasp it firmly with one hand.
    • With your other hand, remove the outermost layer of skin with a Y-shaped peeler.
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    Cut the pumpkin into chunks. Use a serrated knife to cut the raw flesh of the pumpkin into 2-inch (5-cm) chunks.
    • Divide the pumpkin in half lengthwise.
    • Scoop out the seeds and stringy pulp with a metal spoon. A serrated spoon works best.
    • Cut the remaining flesh into 2-inch (5-cm) cubes using a serrated knife.
    • Serrated knives are more effective because they dig into the thick flesh of the pumpkin more easily than smooth blades.
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    3
    Transfer the pumpkin pieces to a saucepan and add water. Place the chunks inside a large saucepan and fill the saucepan with enough water to cover the pumpkin completely.
    • The pumpkin chunks should fill roughly half of the saucepan.
    • You only need the water level to be 1 to 2 inches (2.5 to 5 cm) above the pumpkin pieces.
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    Boil the pieces until tender. This should take approximately 25 minutes.
    • The pumpkin is tender when the pieces are soft enough to pierce with a fork.
    • Bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat.
    • Leave the saucepan uncovered as you cook the pumpkin.
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    Cool the pumpkin before pureeing it. Remove the pumpkin from the water, drain, and puree the flesh.
    • Pour the contents of the saucepan through a colander. Let the pieces sit in the colander for 15 to 25 minutes, draining and cooling simultaneously.
    • Puree the cooked chunks of pumpkin with a blender or handheld blender. You could also mash the chunks with a potato masher or food mill, or leave the pumpkin as cooked chunks when storing.

Method 3
Microwaving

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    1
    Cut the pumpkin in half. Use a serrated knife to cut the pumpkin into half lengthwise.
    • A serrated knife is easier and safer to use than a smooth blade for cutting through the thick skin and flesh of raw pumpkin.
    • Cut around the stem and remove it entirely. Do not microwave the pumpkin with the stem still attached.
    • Remove the seeds and stringy insides after cutting the pumpkin open. Use a serrated grapefruit spoon, a sturdy metal ice cream scoop, or another sturdy metal spoon.
    • You may opt to cut the pumpkin into smaller slices if. Smaller slices are often easier to fit into a glass dish, and they are also easier to work with when removing the cooked flesh.
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    Place the pumpkin in a microwave-safe glass dish. The pumpkin can either be cut-side up or cut-side down. Fill the dish with 2 inches (5 cm) of water.
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    Microwave until tender. Cover the dish and microwave on high for roughly 7 minutes per pound (450 g).
    • For standard sugar pumpkins, the pumpkin will need to be microwaved for a total of 20 to 30 minutes.[3]
    • Turn the pumpkin every 5 to 7 minutes as it cooks to ensure even cooking.
    • The pumpkin is ready when the flesh is soft enough to dig into with a spoon.
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    Cool and puree as desired. Remove the cooked pumpkin from its dish and let cool for 15 to 25 minutes, or until it is cool to the touch. Dig the flesh out with a metal spoon.
    • If desired, puree the pumpkin flesh with a blender, handheld blender, or food processor. It can also be mashed with a potato masher.

Method 4
Slow Cooking

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    1
    Cut the pumpkin in half lengthwise. Use a serrated knife to saw the pumpkin in half from top to bottom.
    • Cut around the stem to remove it.
    • Dig out the seeds and stringy pulp with a serrated grapefruit spoon, metal ice cream scoop, or sharp paring knife.
    • Cut the pumpkin into smaller pieces, if necessary. If your slow cooker is not large enough to fit two pumpkin halves, use your serrated knife to cut the pumpkin into smaller slices. The smaller your slow cooker, the more slices you will need to cut the pumpkin into.
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    Place the pumpkin in your slow cooker and add water. Arrange the pumpkin pieces in the slow cooker and add 1 cup (250 ml) of lukewarm water.
    • The bottom 3/4-inch (1.9-cm) of the slow cooker should be covered in water.
    • If desired, you can use specialized slow cooker liners to prevent the pumpkin from sticking to the bottom and sides of the slow cooker.
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    Cook for 4 hours on high.[4] The pumpkin should be very tender when done.
    • The pumpkin is finished cooking if you can stick a fork into the flesh and peel it away from the skin.
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    4
    Remove and puree the flesh once cool. After cooking the pumpkin, allow it to cool for 30 to 40 minutes or until cool enough to touch. Use a spoon to scoop the flesh out.
    • Puree the flesh in a blender or food processor. You can also mash it with a potato masher.
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    5
    Finished.

Tips

  • Use cooled pumpkin immediately or store it for later use. Fresh pureed pumpkin can be refrigerated for 3 days, or you can freeze it for 6 months.
  • If desired, save the pumpkin seeds for roasting. Wash them, dry them, and roast them on a shallow baking sheet at 300 degrees Fahrenheit (150 degrees Celsius) for 45 minutes.

Things You'll Need

  • Serrated knife
  • Serrated grapefruit spoon, ice cream scoop, or other metal spoon
  • Baking dish
  • Large saucepan
  • Microwave-safe glass dish
  • Slow cooker
  • Blender, handheld blender, food processor, potato masher, or food mill
  • Y-shaped vegetable peeler

Article Info

Categories: Basic Cooking Skills