How to Cook a Pumpkin

  • 01 of 07

    What You'll Need to Cook a Pumpkin

    How to Cook a Pumpkin
    ©2009 Jessica Harlan licensed to About.com, Inc.

    Learning how to cook a pumpkin is surprisingly fast and easy, and a pumpkin pie made with fresh pumpkin is tastier than a pie made with canned pumpkin. These easy steps will show you how to cook a pumpkin for pumpkin pie, pumpkin butter, pumpkin bread and other recipes that use canned pumpkin puree.

    To begin, you'll need:

    • One pie pumpkin, about 6 to 8 inches in diameter (also called sugar pumpkins or eating pumpkins
    • A long serrated knife
    • A cutting board
    • A spoon
    • A mixing bowl
    • A large pot, such...MORE as a stock pot
    • A steamer insert
    • An immersion blender or a food processor

    Wash the pumpkin well with cool water, and cut or break off the stem. Place a steamer insert in a large pot and add a few inches of water to the pot. Put the pot on the stove over high heat.

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  • 02 of 07

    Cut Pumpkin in Half

    How to Cook a Pumpkin
    ©2009 Jessica Harlan licensed to About.com, Inc.

    Using a serrated knife and a back-and-forth motion, cut the pumpkin in half vertically, from the stem end to the base.

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  • 03 of 07

    Scrape Out Seeds

    How to Cook a Pumpkin
    ©2009 Jessica Harlan licensed to About.com, Inc.

    Using a spoon, scrape out the seeds and the stringy pulp. Be sure to save the seeds to make roasted pumpkin seeds.

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  • 04 of 07

    Cook the Pumpkin

    How to Cook a Pumpkin
    ©2009 Jessica Harlan licensed to About.com, Inc.
    Arrange the pumpkin pieces on the steamer insert in the pot. You might have to cut each piece in half again to make sure all pieces fit with the lid on the pot. Cover the pot and steam over medium-high heat.
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  • 05 of 07

    Check Pumpkin for Doneness

    How to Cook a Pumpkin
    ©2009 Jessica Harlan licensed to About.com, Inc.
    The pumpkin should take 15 to 25 minutes, but check it after 15 minutes. The pumpkin is done when the flesh can be pierced easily with a knife. Remove the pumpkin pieces from the pan and place them on a cutting board or in a shallow bowl.
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  • 06 of 07

    Scoop Out the Meat

    How to Cook a Pumpkin
    ©2009 Jessica Harlan licensed to About.com, Inc.
    Allow the pumpkin to cool until you can comfortably touch it, then use a spoon to scoop the meat away from the rind. Place the pumpkin meat in a bowl.
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  • 07 of 07

    Puree the Pumpkin

    How to Cook a Pumpkin
    ©2009 Jessica Harlan licensed to About.com, Inc.

    Using an immersion blender, puree the pumpkin until it's uniformly smooth. You can also puree the pumpkin in a food processor or a food mill. Let the pumpkin sit in a bowl for about 15 to 20 minutes; if it seems watery, you can strain it through a fine-meshed sieve or cheesecloth.

    The pumpkin puree is now ready to use in any recipe calling for canned pumpkin. You should get about 3 cups of pumpkin puree from a 6- to 8-inch pumpkin. For reference, one 15-ounce can of pumpkin contains 1 3/4...MORE cups of pumpkin puree.