One of the best things to come out of a fall garden is the pie pumkins. These versatile crops are often abundant and are perfect for making into soups and baked goods. Processing pumkins is easy and will make your house smell like fall.
In this post we will walk your through the steps of processing pumpkins.
There are several methods you can use for processing pumpkins. Our favorite method is to bake the pumpkins. This provides a sweeter flavor and is easiest, especially if you are preparing a lot of pumkins at the same time.
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Overview of Processing Pumpkins
To make pumpkin puree, we cut each pumpkin in half, pulled out the seeds and pulp, placed them on a greased sheet, and baked them at 400 degrees for around 45 minutes. The pumpkins are done when the flesh is soft and easily poked with a fork or knife.
Remove the pumpkins from the oven and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes. Using a spoon, scoop the flesh from the skin, and mush it up with your spoon. You now have pumpkin puree for use in your cooking and baking. And don’t forget that all those seeds and bits of flesh left on the skins and pulp will be appreciated by any animals or will be great addition to your compost. In fact pumpkin seeds are thought to be a natural de-wormer for many animals including chickens.
What You’ll Need to Process Pumpkins
- Fresh pumpkins
- A sharp knife
- A cutting board
- A large spoon
- Baking sheets
- Parchment paper
- Oven or microwave (optional)
- Food processor or blender (optional)
Step 1: Select the Right Pumpkin
Start by choosing the right pumpkins for processing. Look for small to medium-sized pumpkins, often labeled as “pie pumpkins” or “sugar pumpkins.” These varieties are known for their sweet and tender flesh, making them ideal for cooking and baking.
You can grow these pumpkins youself or buy them locally at a farm or grocery story. Pie pumpkin varieties vary in flavor, texture and size.
Punkins are one of our favorite crops to grow in our garden.
Step 2: Wash and Prepare
Before you begin, wash the pumpkin thoroughly to remove any dirt or debris. Use a produce brush if necessary. Once clean, pat it dry with a towel.
Pumpkins often are most dirty on one side and even though you will peel your pumpkin, a small amount of dirt can ruin the pumpkin purree.
Step 3: Cutting the Pumpkin
Place the pumpkin on a stable surface, such as a cutting board. Use a sharp knife to carefully cut off the stem and then cut the pumpkin in half vertically. This may require some effort, so be cautious and use a steady hand.
Step 4: Scoop Out the Seeds
Use a large spoon to scoop out the seeds and the stringy pulp from the inside of each pumpkin half. You can save the seeds for roasting if you like. Set them aside for later, we also like to feed the seeds to the goats or chickens.
Step 5: Choose Your Cooking Method
Now, you have two options for cooking the pumpkin before processing it further:
Option 1: Roasting
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
- Place the pumpkin halves, cut side down, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Roast for 45-60 minutes, or until the flesh is tender when pierced with a fork.
- Remove from the oven and let it cool.
Option 2: Microwaving (faster method)
- Place the pumpkin halves, cut side down, in a microwave-safe dish.
- Microwave on high for 15-20 minutes, checking for doneness by poking the flesh with a fork.
- Let it cool.
Step 6: Peel the Pumpkin
Once the pumpkin has cooled down, use a knife or your fingers to peel away the skin. The flesh should come off easily, leaving you with the soft, cooked pumpkin.
Try to preserve as much of the pumpkin flesh as possible.
Step 7: Process the Pumpkin
You can use the processed pumpkin in a variety of recipes, such as pumpkin puree, soups, pies, or muffins. Here’s how to do it:
- Cut the peeled pumpkin into smaller pieces.
- Place the pieces in a food processor or blender.
- Blend until smooth. You can also add a little water if needed to achieve your desired consistency.
Step 8: Store or Use
Your freshly processed pumpkin is now ready to use in your favorite recipes. If you have more than you need, you can store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week, or freeze it for longer-term storage.
While some of us were happy to eat the pumpkin puree just the way it was, the rest of us have been hard at work putting all that lovely orange goop to good use.
The Pumpkin Bars below were absolutely delicious and came from a recipe over at 1840 Farm, find the recipe here. We’ve also made pumpkin lasagna, calzones, pancakes, and we still have a giant bowl waiting in the fridge.
I’m thinking pie, maybe some more cookies, bread, and some soup. If you’re looking for a little pumpkin recipe inspiration try to get your hands on this wonderful Pumpkin Cookbook by DeeDee Stovel, and don’t forget to come back and share what you’ve made.