HOW TO PREPARE PUMPKIN/BUTTERNUT SQUASH FOR COOKING
“Pie Pumpkins” are smaller, sweeter, less grainy textured pumpkins than the usual jack-o-lantern types. We call them “spookie” pumpkins. (You can also use a butternut squash. Commercial canned pumpkin is from a variety of butternut!) One 8″ pie pumpkin will get you about 3 cups of cooked, mashed pumpkin!
Wash the exterior of the pumpkin (no soap)
Cut the pumpkin in half using a serrated knife.
Scoop out the seeds. Get out all the stringy, dangly stuff that coats the inside surface. (An ice cream scoop works well for this)
Note: Save the seeds for roasting. Place them in a bowl of water & rub them between your hands & drain off the water. Spread them out on a clean towel to dry and then they will be ready to roast!
There are several ways to cook the pumpkin; just choose your preferred method.
Microwave: Put the pumpkin in a microwaveable bowl. (You may need to cut the pumpkin further to make it fit) Put a couple of inches of water in the bowl, cover & put in microwave. Cook until pumpkin is fork tender (15-20 minutes or more depending on your microwave)
Steam it on the stovetop: Put water in the bottom of a pot, put your steamer basket inside. Put your cut pumpkin in and cover. Normally, it takes 20-30 minutes until it is tender.
Oven: Put cut pumpkin facing down in a pan filled with 2″ of water. Bake at 375 F till tender. (May take 45 minutes to an hour)
Then, once the pumpkin is soft and somewhat cooled, scoop the cooked pumpkin out of the skin using a large spoon.
Puree the pumpkin to get it to a nice, smooth consistency. Use a hand blender or a regular blender. This just takes a few minutes.
You are done!!! The pumpkin is now ready for pies, a pumpkin cheesecake, muffins, soup or cookies!