How to Cook a Fresh Pumpkin

autumn_tableauA few weeks ago I posted a recipe for Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread, made from fresh pumpkin. I thought it might be helpful if I posted a recipe for how to prepare a fresh pumpkin in order to be used in a variety of seasonal fall recipes.

The first thing you need to do is select the right kind of pumpkin. I use the small pie pumpkins. You can use a larger pumpkin but they will not be as sweet tasting and may require a little extra sweetener when preparing your recipes. You can usually find pumpkins on sale for a fraction of the cost right after Halloween and then again right after Thanksgiving. I usually stock up and have a baking day.

Your house will smell wonderful while the pumpkin is baking. You will feel great when you use it to bake because you are not feeding your family canned pumpkin filled with additives.


  • Wash the pumpkin in cool or warm water, do not use soap. Use a clean cloth to remove any dirt particles from the pumpkin.
  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  • Cover a cookie sheet with foil and set aside.
  • Cut the pumpkin half.
  • Scrape out the insides of the pumpkin. You want to remove all of the seeds and stringy stuff.
  • Sprinkle a little bit of cinnamon on the pumpkin (optional).
  • Place your clean, scraped pumpkin upside down on the cookie sheet.
  • Place the pumpkin in the oven and bake for about 45-60 minutes. It may take a while longer depending on the size and thickness of the pumpkin.  You will need to check often to see if the pumpkin is done. Use a butter knife or a fork to test. The knife or fork should slide easily into the pumpkin, like a potato after it has been baked.
  • Once the pumpkin is done, remove from oven and let it cool for a few minutes.
  • Peel the pumpkin skin away from the pumpkin. The skin should separate easily from the rest of the pumpkin. If you prefer you can use a spoon to scoop the cooked pumpkin out of the skin.
  • Once you have removed the skin from the pumpkin you want to blend/puree it so that it has a smooth consistency. Sometimes I will add additional cinnamon to the mixture at this time however it is not necessary.
  • You are now ready to use or freeze your cooked pumpkin. To freeze place the desired amount of pumpkin into a freezer bag and seal, removing as much air as possible. On the outside of the bag indicate how much pumpkin in in the bag or what recipe it is for. I usually place the amount of pumpkin needed for each recipe in each bag. By doing this I can just pull the pumpkin, defrost and use it without having to measure it again when I am ready to bake.

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