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How to cook a fresh pumpkin

I've been meaning to do this for years and never really got around to it.

Here in Croatia it's almost impossible to find good cooking pumpkins because in this part of Europe black pumpkin seed oil is tradition and everyone loves it. Actually in the fall it's totally normal to see fields lined with big, orange pumpkins ready for the pickin', but then it happens. Every year I'll see a field over flowing with pumpkins and then the same field will the lying with the wasted shells of the same pumpkins. As soon as the pumpkins are ready the women come out to the field, cleave the pumpkins into, scoop out the insides and leave the rest to rot! Can you believe that such waste is going on in a civilized country? It is, right here in Croatia and this whole part of Europe.

Anyhoo, here is a picture tutorial on how to cook a fresh pumpkin:

First, get your pumpkin. There are many varieties out there but since I didn't really know I settled for the average orange one.
Cut the pumpkin into and then scoop out the innards! These can be retained and then separated to make toasted pumpkin seeds.
Scooped out!
Then there are several ways to cook the pumpkin. You can add them to a large baking pan like the above one, face down and fill with 1 inch water or you can even cook it in the microwave if it's large enough to accomodate the pumpkin. (BTW, my kids drew on the outside before I cut it open, see the funny faces, that's about as close to a jack o lantern they have ever been.)
My daughter, Hannah wanted you to see the pumpkin in the over, don't ask why! I cooked the pumpkin on 325 for about an hour or a little less. The whole purpose is to get the flesh nice and soft, soft enough to be pureed in the food processor.
After the pumpkin is finished cooking take it out and let it cool completely. When it's cool enough to handle take a knife and clean all the skin off of the flesh of the pumpkin. We want only good clean flesh, then I chopped it up in 2 in cubes so it would be easier for my food processor to puree.


Ta-da! Pumkin puree! You may want to put it into a fine colander to strain some of the water off. I set it in the colander over a bowl and let it strain for 15 minutes and there was really alot of liquid that ran off.

After the pumpkin is all finished you may use it exactly like you would for can pumpkin. From one medium sized pumpkin I got about 6 cups of puree. I made 4 loaves of pumpkin bread and 12 muffins and they were delish! So fresh! Here's the super-easy, super-yummy Pumpkin Bread recipe I used, sure to be a hit no matter where!

Pumpkin Bread

1 C all purpose flour
1 C packed brown sugar
1 TBSP baking powder
1 TSP ground cinnamon
1/4 TSP salt
1/4 TSP baking soda
1/4 TSP ground nutmeg
1/8 TSP ground ginger or cloves
1 C canned pumpkin or fresh
1/2 C milk or buttermilk
2 eggs
1/3 C shortning
1 C all purpose flour
1/2 C chopped walnuts or pecans
1/2 raisins (optional)

1. Grease the bottom and half way up the sides of a 9x5x3 in. loaf pan; set aside.
2. In a large mixing bowl combine 1 C flour, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, nutmeg and ginger or cloves. Add pumpkin, milk, eggs, and shortning. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed till blended. Beat on medium to high speed for 2 minutes. Add the 1 C of flour and beat until blended. Fold in the walnuts and raisins.
*** I used a wooden spoon and mixed just until blended and it was wonderful!
3. Spoon batter into prepared pan. Bake in a 350° oven 60 to 65 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
*** I only baked it for about 40 minutes and it was good but I have a confection over so it works different. Use the toothpick method and when it's almost dry it's ready, don't over cook!
Cool completely on a wire rack.


I made this bread for church this morning and out Croats loved this bread. They are super slow to try anythign and since they don't eat the pumpkin I didn't tell them what was in the bread until they all said how good the bread was, then I broke the big news, IT'S PUMPKIN!!

Also my husband doesn't like pumpkin and he loved this bread, yummy!
Make sure to let me know if you cook your own pumpkin and share your culinary creations!

16 comments:

  1. I was just complaining to my dear hubby about how I wanted a pumpkin roll so bad I couldn't stand it. But there's no canned pumpkin to be found. I asked my mom to throw a can in her suitcase. She's coming in two weeks. I said to my husband that I needed to find out how to cook a pumpkin...well...now I know!! I'm not gonna wait for two weeks now. I'll save that can for when I can't get fresh pumpkin!

    Thanks!

    And by the way...thanks for your sweet words about my blog. I spent way too much time on it last night trying to clean it up a bit and give it a new look...

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  2. Do you know what? I've never cooked a pumpkin before -- I've been scared! But, I've seen at least three different tutorials on this now, so maybe I just need to get over my fears and try it, lol! Thanks for making it look so easy!

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  3. yum that sounds so good!

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  4. Hi Tori!
    I found your blog from your comments on my blog - and I am so glad I found you too.

    I've bookmarked you and will be checking back often.

    About the waste of pumpkins - most all of my neighbors have numerous large pumpkins in their yards, just for decoration. I am positive none of them will get eaten either, just sent to the dump on trash day after Halloween.

    My hubby does not like pumpkin either, so I am just making reusable fabric pumpkins this year.

    Be back later!

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  5. This looks so easy, and the recipe looks good too! Thanks for posting this! :)

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  6. mmm... sounds great! Thanks for sharing!

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  7. Thanks so much for posting this! I have always wanted to try to cook pumpkin and freeze or can it, but didn't know that it was so easy (you make it look easy anyway!). Walmart always gives way their excess pumpkins Nov 1 so it would definately be a frugal way to get "canned" pumpkin! Thanks again!

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  8. I always wondered how you cook pumpkin so thank you Tori. I have about the same recipe for pumpkin bread and it is delicious. I make it every Thanksgiving and Christmas. My family love it. connie

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  9. Oh, I forgot to tell you Tori, I really really like your new blog look. connie

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  10. I haven't done this in a couple years. I need to try this again. Thanks for posting!

    Thank you also for coming by my blog! Great to meet you! :D

    Have a great day!
    Sherry
    Phil 4:13

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  11. Hey, just stopped by and I am glad I did. Jerilynn put a link to you a long time ago! I just love your blog; we are kindred spirits for sure! It is a good thing you don't live close!

    Jennie

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  12. It truly is a small world! I just saw a link to you on the My Spot blog of Jennie Bender's. She and I are friends. We went to college together. I participate in posting on that blog. Jerri Lynn Wilkerson was my piano teacher when I went to Crown College. I see that you are a friend of hers too. Funny, how paths cross. I found your blog on the KJV blog the other day, and then I bump into you again on My Spot. I guess that God intended for us to meet one way or the other.

    Thanks for the book info on holidays. It has been a real eye opener.

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  13. I am so going to do that! Thanks for posting this.

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  14. I loved this post! I've never cooked a pumpkin. I'm inspired!! And hey, if you didn't know, I have recipe for toasted pumpkin seeds at my recipe blog. I just put it on a week or so ago if you don't have a recipe for that.

    ~Kristi

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  15. how fun to read about other cultures and pumpkins! We are missionaries in Hungary and pumpkins are broken up and only used as pig food here! I got some hilarious looks when asking for one to decorate with and then to eat! they tried to convince us its not for humans :)

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Hey thanks in advance for leaving a comment, sure do appreciate it!!

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