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4 Tips for Cooking with Pumpkin this Fall — Plus 11 Festive Recipes

Pumpkin is one of my favorite ingredients to cook with throughout the fall. Luckily for me, I’m not the only one who loves making delicious pumpkin-based baked goods and meals, as I’ve found 11 pumpkin recipes you definitely don’t want to miss making this fall. Before you get started, I’m sharing a few tips for cooking with pumpkin this fall, along with plenty of recipes that’ll inspire you to pick pumpkin as one of your favorites, too.

4 No-Fail Tips for Cooking with Pumpkin:

1. Pick a small pumpkin.
Smaller pumpkins, such as the pie or sugar variety, are best for cooking. They taste sweeter, are not as watery and are more tender than the larger types. The large Jack-O-Lantern pumpkins are too stringy and watery for cooking. The pumpkin should be dull and orange, with the stem intact. It should feel heavy for its size with no blemishes, soft or green spots or small holes.

2. Wash your pumpkin before cooking with it.
To prepare the pumpkin for cooking, scrub the outside under running water with a vegetable brush. Slice it in half with a sharp knife. Scoop out stringy flesh and seeds. You can use large spoon or an ice cream scoop also works well. Toss the fleshy strings, but save the seeds to roast later.

3. Pick your cooking method, and follow these tips!

  • Steam: Peel the pumpkin. Cut into small pieces. Place in steamer in large saucepan on stove. Add water, but don’t make water high enough in steamer to touch the pumpkin. Cover and steam over boiling water until tender, about 45 minutes. Drain.
  • Boil: Peel pumpkin. Cut into small pieces. Place in saucepan and cover in water. Boil until tender. Drain.
  • Microwave: Peel pumpkin. Cut into small enough pieces to fit into microwave-safe bowl. Place cut side down. Pour water to cover about 1 to 2 inches in bottom of bowl. Cook on high in 10 minute increments until tender.  Cook for approximately 7 minutes per pound of pumpkin. Drain.
  • Bake: Cut pumpkin in half. Place pumpkin in covered baking dish. Bake at 350° cut side down until tender, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Pumpkin puree can be easily made from any of the cooking methods above. Once cooked, mash or puree in a blender until smooth. To prevent pumpkin from being too watery, drain over strainer or through cheesecloth over bowl to remove excess water. One pound of raw pumpkin yields about 1 cup of puree.

 4. Store your pumpkin in the fridge or freezer.
Pumpkin puree can be refrigerated up to three days before use. Store it in covered container or wrapped in plastic wrap or foil.  It can be stored up to six months in the freezer, allowing you and your family to enjoy fall pumpkins for months to come. Place puree into freezer bags. Remove as much air as possible, and place in freezer.

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