Prepare and Freeze Fresh Pumpkin Easily

Now We're Cookin'

The following instructions will show you how to prepare fresh pumpkin for pumpkin pies, pancakes, bread and other uses.

To Prepare Fresh Pumpkin: Cut a pumpkin in half and then into fourths. Use a large spoon or scoop to remove the seeds, and set aside (pumpkin seeds are edible and nutritious too. Save for roasting.) Place the pumpkin skin-side down in a roasting pan. Add a little water to cover the bottom of the pan and cover. Place in a 300°F oven. The pumpkin will take about 1 hour to bake, unless you are working with a small one. Test the center of the pumpkin for softness with a knife. When the pumpkin is done, it will slice easily. Remove pumpkin from the oven when it’s ready and uncover. Allow to cool slightly to the touch. Cut the fleshly part away from the hard outside shell. Chop the fleshy part into 2” to 3” inch chunks. If the pumpkin will be used solely for pies or breads, process the pumpkin cubes in a blender or food processor until smooth. Store pumpkin in the freezer for future use. Freeze in storage containers or pressure-can in pint-canning jars.


To Freeze Fresh Pumpkin

You can enjoy baking your favorite pumpkin pies, pumpkin bread, pudding and pancakes just by freezing your fresh pumpkin.

Here’s how: Once the fresh pumpkin has been cooked and processed in a food processor, measure quantities for your favorite pumpkin recipes, usually 1 to 2 cup portions. Measure pumpkin into freezer storage bags. Label contents, date and quantity and store in freezer until ready to use.

To Defrost Frozen Pumpkin: Fresh frozen pumpkin defrosts nicely and should be ready to use in only an hour after removing from the freezer.

To expedite the thawing process: Rip plastic freezer bag open and place pumpkin on a glass pie pan in the microwave. Defrost 2 to 3 minutes or until soft. Use defrosted pumpkin for any recipe that calls for pumpkin. It’s a great substitute for the canned product.


Linda’s Pumpkin Seeds

Seeds from pumpkin

1/4 to 1/2 c. salt


Olive oil

Additional salt for seasoning


Clean pumpkin seeds. Dissolve salt in water in large bowl; add pumpkin seeds. Soak overnight or longer; drain.

Spread pumpkin seeds on cookie sheet, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake at 300 degrees, flipping every 10 minutes, until desired doneness is reached.

Fun to add different flavors of popcorn salt.


Pumpkin Bars

2 c. sugar

3/4 c. oil

4 eggs

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. soda

2 tsp. baking powder

1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin (or about 2 cups fresh puree)

2 c. flour

2 tsp. cinnamon

2 dashes nutmeg



1 (3 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened

1/2 c. butter, softened

1-1/2 to 2 c. powdered sugar

Small amount of milk


Combine ingredients in large bowl. Beat until thoroughly mixed. Pour batter into a greased and floured jelly-roll pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-35 minuites, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool.

For frosting, beat cream cheese and butter until creamy. Add enough powdered sugar and milk to reach desired consistency for spreading. Frost cooled bars.


Pumpkin Soup

1 T. extra-virgin olive oil

1 large onion, coarsely chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

4 lb. pumpkin (any kind but preferably sugar pie)

4 c. low-sodium chicken broth

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1/2 c. heavy cream, plus more for garnish


In a heavy soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, heat oil. Add onion and garlic and cook until golden.

Meanwhile, halve, peel, and scrape out seeds of the pumpkin. Cut into chunks.

Add pumpkin chunks and broth to pot. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, uncovered, then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer until pumpkin is fork-tender, about 30 minutes.

Remove pot from heat and, using an immersion blender, blend mixture until smooth. (Alternatively, let soup cool, then blend in a blender.) Stir in cream and season to taste.

To serve, ladle soup into bowls, add a swirl of cream, and garnish with pepper.Yields 4 servings.


Savory Pumpkin Casserole

1/4 tsp. salt

3 cloves garlic

2 large eggs

1/2 c. heavy cream

15 oz. pumpkin puree

6 T. ricotta cheese

2 T. Parmesan cheese

1/2 tsp. rosemary dried

1/2 tsp. sage dried

1/2 tsp. thyme dried


Combine salt, garlic, eggs, and cream with whisk.

Whisk in the pumpkin puree and spread mixture into casserole dish (I used a 7×11 pan).

Spoon ricotta cheese over pumpkin mixture then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, rosemary, sage, and thyme.

Bake at 350°F for 25-30 minutes. Sprinkle on additional Parmesan and salt for each serving if desired. Yields 6 servings.


Pumpkin Spice Latte

1 c. milk

2 T. pure pumpkin puree

1 T. sugar

1/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice, plus more for sprinkling

1/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1/4 c. hot espresso or strong brewed coffee

Sweetened whipped cream, for serving


Combine the milk, pumpkin puree, sugar, pumpkin pie spice and vanilla in a medium microwave safe bowl, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and vent with a small hole. Microwave until the milk is hot, 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk vigorously until the milk mixture is foamy, about 30 seconds.

Pour the espresso or coffee into a large mug and add the foamed milk. Top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice. Yields 1 drink.



The Drummer and The Wright County Journal Press

PO Box 159
108 Central Ave.
Buffalo MN 55313

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