Selecting and Cooking a Pumpkin
Selecting a Pumpkin
Pick a pumpkin that is heavy for its size.
The pumpkin should be blemish-free and should be bright in color.
The smaller the pumpkin, the more sweet and tender it will be.
If you are going to cook the pumpkin, pick one that is grown specifically for eating, such as a sugar or pie pumpkin.
Pumpkin can be prepared like most winter squash.
A pumpkin can be stored at room temperature for 1 month. After it has been cooked and mashed, it can be frozen for up to 3 months.
How to Cook Pumpkin
Steamed, microwaved or pressure-cooked pumpkin is tender and creamy. If you bake it, you will get a slightly sweet, roasted flavor as well. Baked pumpkin is best for baking because the other three methods yield a more moist puree.
After cooking, scoop the pumpkin flesh from the skin and puree in a food processor or food mill. Discard skin.
- Baked Pumpkin: Cut pumpkin into chunks, or if small, cut in half. Clean out seeds and pulp. Place in a baking dish, flesh side down, with 1 inch water. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, depending on size of chunks, until tender when pierced with a knife.
- Steamed Pumpkin: Cut seeded pumpkin into large chunks. Place in a steamer basket. Place over boiling water and cover. Steam about 20 to 25 minutes, until soft but not mushy when tested with a knife.
- Microwaved Pumpkin: Cut seeded pumpkin into pieces that will fit in microwave. Cover each piece tightly with microwave safe plastic wrap. Place in microwave, skin side down, and cook on HIGH until tender when tested with a knife, 15 to 30 minutes, depending on amount of pumpkin and size of microwave.
- Pressure-cooked Pumpkin: Place a trivet or steamer basket in bottom of pressure cooker. Add 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup water and seeded pumpkin chunks. Close and lock the cooker. Bring it up to full pressure and cook about 4 minutes. Release pressure before opening cooker. If pumpkin is not tender, re-cover cooker and cook for an additional 1 to 2 minutes.