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.
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.
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 (these are so, so soft and delicious!)
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!
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!
Don't forget to roast the pumpkin seeds and enjoy them for a healthy snack! :)
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? ;)
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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