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Cooking with Fresh Pumpkin

I’ve been cooking with fresh pumpkin for many years.

Early in the fall, when I see a pumpkin, I don’t think “jack-o-lantern”; I see fresh pumpkin pie!  My first experience cooking with fresh pumpkin was when we had a pumpkin and not wanting to carve it (because I never was very good at that), I cut it up and made fresh pumpkin pies. I was immediately hookedimage on the freshness and taste of pies made with fresh pumpkin.

Trust me, if you are a fan of anything made with pumpkin, you will love fresh pumpkin.

As great as my first pumpkin pie tasted, I cooked the pumpkin the hard way. I actually peeled the pumpkin with a potato peeler, cut it up in smaller chunks (really difficult and time consuming) and boiled it until it was tender.  Without learning a much easier way to cook my fresh pumpkin, I doubt I would have  made too many more pies with fresh pumpkin.

Now, here is a simple way to cook pumpkin and have it ready to use in any pumpkin recipe.  Start by cutting the pumpkin in half like the picture below.  This is going to require a sharp knife.  And be careful.

 

Also I prefers the smaller pumpkins as I find the meat less stringy – but any size will do fine.

 

imageScoop out the seed and pulp with a spoon.  I sometime cut out the pulp a bit with my kitchen scissors.

imageNext, place the pumpkin in a pan as pictured below.  You can put it in a microwave safe dish and microwave it, but I can use a jelly roll pan and get both halves in at once.

 

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Pre-heat oven to 250 degrees.  Add about a half inch of water. Place in oven and let steam for about two hours – or until you press on the outside skin and it feels soft.  Remove pan from oven and with an ice cream scoop or spoon, scoop out the Pumpkin meat as close to the skin as possible.  I put twice as much as I will need for one recipe because when you unfreeze it, you will press out quite a bit of liquid.  When using fresh pumpkin, I use about 1 1/2 times of what I would use of canned pumpkin.  I also find it helps to purée the pumpkin in the blender so the pumpkin is not lumpy.  Press out as much liquid as possible before putting it in the blender.  For pumpkin pie I mix the entire recipe in the blender.

 

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From the small pumpkin above I got enough meat to make two pies.

 

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