Kitchen Tip Tuesdays: Tips for storing, cooking, and using fresh pumpkins

How to store pumpkins:

Store pumpkins in a cool dark dry and well-ventilated location until ready to use. It's best to store them on a soft surface, such as cardboard or a cloth/towel. Most pumpkin varieties will keep for 3 months.

Before cutting into your pumpkin, wash or rinse the outside with water to remove any dirt. I like to use a thin serrated knife to cut the pumpkin. (I actually use a bread knife!) Remove the pumpkin seeds (don't discard) and stem before cooking.

Freshly cooked pumpkin

How to cook pumpkin on the stove top:

Cut into wedges to fit into a large stock pot. Add a couple inches of water to the stock pot. Cook over medium heat, covered, until the flesh is soft (test with a fork). Drain pumpkin and allow to cool. Scoop flesh from the skin and discard skin.

How to cook pumpkin in the oven:

Place pumpkin halves face-down on a baking sheet/pan and add 1/2-1 inch of water to the pan. Bake at 450 degrees for about an hour, until flesh is soft (check with a fork). Cool; scoop flesh from the skin and discard the skin.

Pumpkin, cooked

How to make pumpkin puree:

Puree pumpkin in small amounts in a blender or food processor.

Easy no-blender pumpkin puree tip:

I've also used a potato masher to mash the cooked pumpkin and while that didn't make a smooth puree, it did just fine in my pies, muffins, and pumpkin dinner rolls!

Pumpkin Dinner Rolls recipe
Pumpkin Dinner Rolls (these are so, so soft and delicious!)

Pumpkin differences:

Smaller "sugar" pumpkins (or "pie" pumpkins) are more flavorful, sweeter, and less watery. They will make a pumpkin puree similar to the store-bought canned pumpkin puree.

Larger "carving" pumpkins are definitely edible, though lighter and more watery. When using these pumpkins, drain the excess water for best results.

You definitely don't want watery pumpkin puree for your baked goods, and the thicker your puree, the more flavorful!

The thick pumpkin puree

How to drain the excess water from cooked pumpkin puree (important!):

Place a strainer inside a bowl or clean sink. Spoon the puree into the strainer. Don't worry, unless your strainer has huge holes, the puree won't slide through! Allow the puree to drain until water stops coming out. From 1 medium-large carving pumpkin, I drained over a quart of clear watery liquid!

Roasted pumpkin seeds recipe

Don't forget to roast the pumpkin seeds and enjoy them for a healthy snack! :)

Pumpkin raisin cookies, ready to be baked
Pumpkin Raisin Cookies, ready for the oven (one of my favorite healthy cookies!)

Here is a post with photos from when we used the pumpkins we had last year! I guess each January finds us using the last couple pumpkins! :)

Have I motivated you to cook something with pumpkin yet? ;)

To Participate in Kitchen Tip Tuesdays:

Post a kitchen tip in your blog. Link to this post, and then leave your link here, so we know where to find YOU! :) No giveaways or non-tip posts, please!

In order to keep the kitchen tips more easily accessible, posts not adhering to these guidelines will be removed. We need to be able to easily find/see what your kitchen/cooking tip is. :) Thanks for your participation! :)

Leave your tip links in a comment. I'll manually add them to this post!

1. Baking soda for emergencies (Donna)
2. Kitchen menu board (Anna)
3. Serving sauces, dips, and syrups to children (Laura)
4. Tip for marking leftovers (Gwen)
5. Teaching yourself and your kids to eat vegetables (Kara)
6. Soaking noodles instead of cooking them (Kolfinna)
7. Tip for cutting pizza


Mmmmm that just sounds soooo goood! Yum!


This week I used an old frame to create a menu board for my kitchen.
I was pleased to be able to find a use for such a sentimental piece, and also let everyone know what is on the menu for that day.


Following the winter cooking theme, I pulled together 10 of my favorite root vegetable recipes.

I love fresh, homemade pumpkin to use in cooking or baking!!! We had 3 crazy huge pumpkins in 2009 that lasted us the entire year (pureed and frozen) and I didn't grow any last year b/c we were moving and didn't know exactly when. I've missed the fresh stuff this winter. I'm excited to start planning my garden at our new place!

Here's my tip on how to serve sauces, dips and syrups to children:

Excellent tips this week, Tammy! I love pumpkin!

My tip is for the special pencil I use to mark lids/jars:
Swing by my slightly cuckoo nest for family favorite recipes, herbal remedies, funny kid stories and more fun stuff!

Hello, Tammy! It's been awhile since I posted a tip, but thought that this one would fit. Post if you think so too.

It's about making liquid soap using soapnuts (or sometimes called soap berries). Here's the link:

Loretta from Vegan Footprints =)

Here I share a strategy that I use in my home with great success

Have you ever used the dough for cinnamon rolls? If not, do you know of any reason it wouldn't work?



I actually *have* tried making cinnamon rolls with the pumpkin dinner roll dough! :)

We did like them (Joshua especially did), but I felt I needed to perfect the method a little because I had tried making a cinnamon frosting, and I think I should have made a cream cheese frosting as I normally would.

So, it's one of those half-finished recipe experiments that fell by the wayside (regular cinnamon rolls are pretty hard to beat, right?). ;)

Hi again Tammy :->
I just read through all of your postings since last weeks "theme day". I do have one question for you in regards to your "budget" posting. First congrats on living with in your means! The ? - if you do not have long distance on your phone nor cell phones - that makes you unable to call your out of state parents, right? Our eldest son, daughter-in-love and grand daughter (another on the way :-D) live out of state and I am so glad they can call and keep me updated on even the little things.

I saw your pumpkin waffles and smiled. Not over pumpkin waffles, but over the absolutely delicious pecan waffles I had the other day. Might need to have them again sooner than I had at first thought o;-p

Have you ever tried filling your celery logs with cream cheese and topping them with pecan pieces? They are very good that way! To take it one step further and max out their tastiness - use your roasted pecans on them. My mouth is watering over just the thought of them. ;-b

Thanks for doing this detailed instructions posting on pumpkins. I have always wondered about all of this! Now I know. Aww the things we can learn via friends blogs.

This week I would like to link up my posting about "Peanut Butter Fudge" -

Stay warm my friend!
Hope you don't mind me gabbin away like this.
Cheryl B.
The Bz House That Love Built

Hi Cheryl! Thanks for the long chatty comment! What a bright spot in my morning! :)

Pecan waffles?! That sounds yummy with maple syrup! :)

I have not tried celery with cream cheese and pecans! :)

You asked, "...if you do not have long distance on your phone nor cell phones - that makes you unable to call your out of state parents, right?"

Well, we do have a phone card that we can use to call long distance. But we use that only minimally, as my parents, my siblings, Joshua's parents, and a number of our friends have phone service with either unlimited long distance or have added our number as one they can always call free. So I do get to talk to them on the phone! Either they call me, or I call with the phonecard and they call me right back. :) But our phone bill doesn't have any long distance charges on it, and the pre-paid calling card is something like $0.03/minute, and we probably use 60 minutes of that each month. :)

Aww... the phone call business is now acceptable ;-p

So my friend, I highly suggest that you try the pecan waffle idea, as well as the cream cheese celery logs! And yes, I'll take the blame if you like them too much. chuckle, chuckle.

Curious, why didn't you list my peanut butter fudge link-up?

Those toy cupcakes you gifted your daughter are cute!!! What fun!

Another have you - have you ever tried making a pumpkin log cake? Very similar to your pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting, but rolled up into a log form, then sliced to serve. Looks fancy.

Hope your weekend flows smoothly my friend!
Cheryl B.

Thank you, Cheryl! :) Do you have a recipe link for the waffles? :)

I didn't add the peanut butter fudge link because I couldn't see a kitchen tip in that post. Is there one that I missed? :) I do link up to recipes but try to do so only when the recipe includes a universal-sort of kitchen tip (i.e. a kitchen tip that can be applied in many different recipes and not *just* that recipe). For example, "This dough is sticky so butter your hands before handling" is recipe-specific. "Tip: when your pizza dough is too sticky to handle, butter/grease the pan and then use your buttery hands to press the dough onto the pan." is more of a "how to solve the problem" tip. :) Does that make sense?! :)

Yes! I have made a cream cheese pumpkin cake roll! :) The recipe I use is on here. Joshua likes it a lot... and it freezes well, too! :)

i posted about soaking noodles instead of cooking them

What an educational post! I learned from this the difference between the smaller and larger pumpkins. ;)

My post is about soaking your whole wheat and making whole wheat pizza, and how you can cut your pizza easier:

That was a great post. I can never tell what all the different squash, pumpkin and other such creatures are good for...

Your pumpkin dinner rolls have been one of my daughters favourite things for years now. Thanks for the wonderful recipes.

I just found your site in the last week or so and really like it. Thanks. I have three pumpkins still sitting on my porch from October and having been wanting to do something with them. This gives me some good ideas. One question though, since I know I won't be able to use all the pumpkin before it goes bad. Do you ever preserve any of it? How? One of the comments mentioned freezing the puree. Do you ever can it? Does it have to be pressure canned (I only have a water bath canner and am honestly terrified of a pressure canner). How long will it last in the freezer?

Thanks so much!

Hi Debbie!

Yes, I usually do preserve some of my pumpkin when I cook it. In the past, I have canned it. The recommended way is to peel the pumpkin and chop into cubes and then can in a pressure canner. My mom does a boiling water bath for 3 hours (and I have done that too) but the FDA's current rules say that is not a safe method.

So, since the water bath is "iffy", and I haven't had large amounts of pumpkin to preserve in the past couple years, I have just frozen the puree. I put the puree in freezer ziplock bags and it should last 6-12 months if the bag is thick and doesn't get punctured or anything. :) It won't be "bad" after 12 months, but after that time I've found things tend to get freezer burn, so I try to use sooner, while it's at its best. :)

When freezing pumpkin puree -- remember to DRAIN IT WELL (as described in my post above) because it can get watery when you thaw it, if it wasn't cooked all the way and then drained thoroughly. :)

What I did the past 2 years was, since I only had 3 pumpkins to use, I just cooked one per month, and made 2-3 different hings with the pumpkin puree. Pies use a lot of pumpkin! :)

Enjoy your pumpkins! They're one of my favorite things to use! :)

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