How to Cook a Pumpkin

For the past few years, I’ve roasted pumpkins in the oven to make puree for cakes and breads.

This year, however, I heard of a new, much easier way:  the Crock Pot.

I love this method!  There’s no more guesswork about when it’s done, no more waiting for it to finish, no more heating the house (when here in the South it’s often still pretty warm outside) while the pumpkins bake.

Instead, I just go about my business – even cooking one overnight while I slept – and come back to it when I’m ready.  No rush, no guessing, no waiting, no crazy mess.

To cook your own pumpkin in a Crock Pot, here’s what you do:

First, of course, find a pumpkin.  I’ve always used a pie pumpkin.

Next, you need to break it.  Now, pie pumpkins are not as easily cut into as the ones many people carve around this time of year.  First, My Little Man and I tried these tools:

Surprisingly enough, I couldn’t really smash the pumpkin with the hammer as I hoped, so then I used the massive knive as a chisel and hammered the knife in all the way around.  (I wouldn’t recommend this, but I was in a hurry.  My Little Man got a good laugh out of the whole thing.)

This method works much better – just be sure to wash both the saw and the pumpkin before beginning.  Watch out for those fingers!

The hard part is now over.  Pat yourself on the back!

Scrape out all the pumpkin ‘guts’ and the seeds.  Put them into your slow cooker, making sure that the lid will fit on securely.  Add an inch of water to the bottom and cook the pumpkin for several hours, until completely soft and mushy.

Cook a Pumpkin
 
Place the pumpkins on a cutting board and give them time to cool.  When you can handle them safely, use a serving spoon to scoop out the soft flesh of the fruit.
 

My Little Man absolutely loved this part!  He cleaned out this whole pumpkin by himself, and he did a great job.

Put the pumpkin into a blender or food mill to puree it.

Or, as he likes to do, you could eat a bit of straight up pumpkin.

When you’re done, you’ll have several cups of fresh pumpkin puree, ready to freeze or bake into your favorite pumpkin recipe.

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