Sunday, November 18, 2012

You Can Use Those Outdoor Pumpkins

A friend gave me her great big pumpkin that had been on her front porch since before Halloween. Now, this wasn't one of those little "cooking" or "pie" pumpkins. It's bred (is that the right word for food?) for size and color, I think. It's not bred for using to make a pumpkin pie. But, having some experience with this winter squash, I knew just what I would do with it. (If you're not going to use yours, I can assure you that I will put it to good use!)

I forgot to weigh or measure it. (I'm still getting used to the documentation that accompanies blogging.) When cut up, it filled my large roasting pan, the one that can hold a 20 lb turkey.

First, I scrubbed it with hot, soapy water because, well, you know how nature is. I then cut it up and, using a grapefruit spoon (love those little serrated edges), scooped out the pulp and seeds. I placed the cut-up pumpkin in the large roasting pan, added a little water, covered it, and baked it at 350 degrees F for about 2 hours. I might have cooked it a little longer than necessary. No problem.
Meanwhile, I placed the whole glop of seeds/pulp in a dish and microwaved it (you could simmer it on the stove) for a few minutes, then I let it cool. Then I "whisked" it with a fork (like you would if you were making scrambled eggs, which I'm not these days), and the seeds separated from the pulp quite easily. I ended up with 2 cups of pulp.
When the cooked pumpkin had cooled, I used my grapefruit spoon to separate the skin from the pumpkin. Here’s the skin (not much waste from such a huge pumpkin).
I placed the pulp and some of the pumpkin into my Vitamix blender (for this project, any blender would work) and pureed it. This variety of pumpkin is quite stringy, so pureeing it helps to get the desired consistency. Now it is all as smooth as silk.
I pureed the remainder of the pumpkin and poured it into a stockpot. It was almost 6 quarts of cooked pumpkin!
I used about 1 quart of the pumpkin for tonight's pumpkin (and carrots and kale) soup. I froze 6 pints of cooked pumpkin for soup and smoothies.

I had a few apples to use up, so I have some apple pumpkin butter simmering in the crockpot (recipe follows).

Apple Pumpkin Butter (all amounts are approximate)
4 cups of apples, cored and peeled
1/2 cup water
2 quarts of cooked pumpkin
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp ground nutmeg

1. Core the apples. Peel the apples and rough chop the peels. Place the peels into the Vitamix and add 1/2 cup water. Turn On, quickly increase the variable speed from 1 to 10, then turn on High. Pour this pretty pink liquid into a large pot or slow cooker.

2. Rough chop the apples and place into the Vitamix. Process about 1/3 to 1/2 at a time. Add a little water if needed. Turn On, quickly increase the variable speed to about 5 or 6, using the tamper as needed to get all of the apples finely chopped. Pour into the large pot or slow cooker. Repeat with remainder of apples.

3. Add the cooked pumpkin and spices. Adjust the spices for your preferences.

4. Cook on the stovetop or slow cooker on Low for 2 hours or more. Pour the finished Apple Pumpkin Butter into containers and chill. Freeze some for later.

Serve on bread, toast, crackers, bagels, banana bread, and muffins. Add to cooked cereal. Serve on pancakes, waffles, or French toast. Use in place of oil and some of the sugar in carrot cake (reduce the other liquid accordingly).

Disclaimer: I am an approved affiliate for Vitamix. You can get free standard shipping and handling (a $25 US/$35 CN value) by purchasing through Vitamix and using code 06-007841 when placing your order.

Blessings and peace...


  1. I used our decorative pumpkin this year, but I cooked it in the crock pot. I cooked it with a little water for 4 hours on high. I think three hours would have been plenty. It was delicious with a little butter. I froze most of it, but the texture suffered after freezing. I've been putting a half cup in my pancake batter. I will try your method of pureeing on my next pumpkin.

  2. Thanks, Dawn, for visiting, and for taking the time to leave me a comment. I was just gifted with a few more decorative pumpkins, so I think I'll try using my large crockpot to cook one or two. Thanks for that idea!