How To Prepare Pumpkin

These are the instructions on preparing pumpkin referenced in the recipes on this site. The instructions are for chunked, cooked, and pureed/mashed pumpkin, so just follow the directions to the stage you want. There are different ways to cook pumpkin, this is merely mine. Some people bake the whole or halved pumpkin and scoop the flesh out, but I prefer the boiling method. One small cooking pumpkin will yield something around 3 cups of puree, but that can vary greatly depending on how thick the layer of flesh is.


Fig. 1

Choose your pumpkin(s). You'll need a good cutting board, a solid knife for cutting it, a chopping knife, a thin filet-type knife, and a vegetable peeler.

Fig. 2

Split the pumpkin with the heavy knife (mine is a bread knife of one-piece construction.)

Fig. 3

Use the heavy knife to split the halves into wedges, discarding the stem.

Fig. 4

Use the thin knife to slice just the pulpy part off of the flesh.

Fig. 5

Now use the vegetable peeler to remove the rind. Rinse the wedges and cutting board off at this time.

Fig. 6

Cut the wedges into chunks less than 2" with the chopping knife.


Fig. 7

Bring water to a boil in a large pot; add a bit of salt. Boil chunks in water until they are fork-tender. I experience some boil-over doing this (it gets all foamy), so I bought a "pot minder," which is a small ceramic disc you just chuck into the pot.

Fig. 8



Fig. 9

Then mash into a puree; I use a mixing wand by Braun. You can use a potato masher but you really do want to be sure this puree is smooth (after all, it is called puree) so you should probably use some kind of food processer. You can use a ricer but I bought one and I dunno, I just don't care for it.

Fig. 10

Thing is with pumpkin, you need to remove absolutely as much water as possible. Best way is to put the puree in a cheese-cloth-lined colander over a bowl and stick the whole thing in the fridge for an hour or more.

Now, as is, this mashed, cooked pumpkin can be frozen, and will keep for a year or so. I suggest pre-measuring the puree into about one-and-a-half cup increments (this actually translates to one cup later on, because there will be more water you can drain off once you defrost it) and freezing it in freezer-safe ziplock bags. (If you do not pre-measure you will be sorry, as the stuff freezes into a material somewhat harder than cement.) Or you can can it, as described elsewhere on my site.

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