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How to Clean and Cook Pumpkin

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Here are tips on how to clean a pumpkin for cooking—plus five delicious pumpkin recipes!

  • First, scrub the outside of the pumpkin with a vegetable brush.
  • Cut the pumpkin in half and use a spoon to scrape out the fibers and the seeds. A serrated grapefruit spoon works great for this.
  • Cut the pumpkin halves into smaller pieces, then place them skin side up in a shallow baking dish.
  • Add water to just cover the bottom of the dish, and cover tightly.
  • Bake in a 325ºF oven until the pumpkin is fork tender. The time will vary depending on the size of your pieces.
  • Let it cool, and then either cut off the peel or scoop out the flesh.

TIP: For pumpkins that you're not cooking right away, keep them cool but not quite as cool as root crops. If you have a coolish bedroom, stashing them under the bed works well. They like a temperature of about 50 to 65ºF.

Pumpkin Recipes

Pumpkin Cookies: When you purchase a pumpkin for your Halloween jack-o-lantern, buy an extra one and make these light-yellow cookies.

Pumpkin Pancakes: For a tasty twist on the ordinary, try our seasonal pancake recipe.

Pumpkin Nutmeg Knots: A prize winner in The 2010 Old Farmer's Almanac Pumpkin Recipe Contest.

Pumpkin Harvest Soup: Savor this savory soup on a cool autumn evening.

Blue Ribbon Pumpkin Pie: Who doesn’t love pumpkin pie? Bake this award-winning pumpkin pie from our Blue Ribbon Recipes Cookbook!

Find more pumpkin recipes in our archives.

TIP: Eating pumpkin pie may encourage sleepiness!


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Dear Sirs kindly let me know

By Elias Khabaz

Dear Sirs

kindly let me know if pumpkin can be stored to be used all year round for commercial usage and how.

Kind regards,

Elias Khabaz

Hi! I am needing to know how

By Tammie Herring

Hi! I am needing to know how to store my seeds until spring? We live in Oklahoma, and so we will probably plant early July, but how to I keep my seeds fresh until then? Do I keep them moist or dry? In an air tight container or air flowing container?

We've been accidentally growing them for 2-3 years, this time we are looking to do it right! I've read how to plant and care for them, but its the before I need help with. Thanks!

Tammie, rinse the seeds under

By Janice H. Seigler

Tammie, rinse the seeds under cool water and place them on some wax paper or a plastic container lid to air dry. Don't use a paper plate or paper towel due to the seed sticking to the paper and removal is difficult. Make sure the seeds are completely air dry. I store mine inside an envelope then place the envelope inside an air tight container or freezer bag and store in my freezer or refrigerator. I always remove the container/freezer bag from the freezer and let it come to room temperature BEFORE opening the container/freezer bag to remove seeds. This will help to prevent condensation from accumulating on the seeds. I hope this helps.

LOVE the suggestion of

By MRilyn zeitlin

LOVE the suggestion of storing pumpkins under the bed of a spare bedroom. Can't wait for guests to look under there and see these little round guys waiting to curl up with their shoes. Thanks to the FA, as ever....

re; baking pumpkin

By Pat Muir-Reilly

re; baking pumpkin whole-should it be pierced before baking? Thanks!

The pumpkin should be cut

By Almanac Staff

The pumpkin should be cut into pieces with seeds removed, not cooked whole. The skin does not need to be pierced.

Clean, cut, cook and mash as

By Robert Garson

Clean, cut, cook and mash as above but use your microwave oven. About twenty minutes on high then cool and remove peel and mash. Just did it!

How do you CAN the pumpkin? I

By Diana Colon

How do you CAN the pumpkin? I would love to save some of the mashed puree pumpkin for relatives next year for summer.

I freeze it in bag using the

By David C Long

I freeze it in bag using the food saver vac. Everyone thinks it's fresh when my wife bakes one for the 4th of Juy.

I put 3 cups of the puree

By Joan Van Zante

I put 3 cups of the puree into freezer ziplocks bags and freeze them. 3 cups will make 2 9" pies or 4 loaves of my pumpkin bread. It freezes well and if you flatten the out in the bags, they will stack nicely in the freezer.

Just toss the whole, washed

By D. Smith

Just toss the whole, washed pumpkin into the oven, let it bake for a while (til softened a little) then take it out and cut the way you desire (around the top or cut the whole top off, or cut in half - whatever) and scoop out seeds (save them). Then add some spices and bake about an hour. Then stir around the inside of the pumpkin loosening the flesh but being careful not to poke a hole, and bake until completely tender. Divide into 2 cup servings and place into freezer bags. You can also add cream to the inside of the pumpkin after adding the spices, if you know you're going to be using the whole pumpkin right away. Depends on the size.

This is the easiest way I've found to get pumpkin ready for pie filling.

I too bake my pumpkin this

By STurnage

I too bake my pumpkin this and if it too large, i simply cut in half. Adding the spices does make your home spell great while cooking! Yummy I have already began this year!

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