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Produce Pointers – Pumpkin

Pumpkins are not vegetables they are fruits! Pumpkins, gourds, and other varieties of squash are all members of the Cucurbitaceae family.  Pumpkins have been grown in the Americas for thousands of years.  There was probably some kind of pumpkin served at the first Thanksgiving Feast.

Use & Preparation

UF/IFAS Photo by Amy Stuart

To prepare fresh pumpkin for uses in baking, roasting or adding to casserole dishes, scoop out the seeds and cut the pumpkin into quarters and lay the pieces in a pan of water, filled to about one inch.  Bake until the pumpkin is tender.  Peel and mash.  Put cooked pumpkin through a strainer or sieve.

Selection

Small to medium size pumpkins are best for baking and cooking.  Look for heavy pumpkins, and ones that do not have a hollow sound.

Storage

Pumpkins should be stored in a cool dry place.  Store pumpkins upside down so the stem end is on the bottom.  Fresh field pumpkins can last 3 – 4 months.  Cooked refrigerated pumpkins last 5 to 7 days and up to one month in the freezer.

Roasted Pumpkin Seed (in the microwave)

  • 1 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
  1. Remove any fiber clinging to pumpkin seeds
  2. Wash and drain well.
  3. Spread seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet to dry, stirring occasionally.
  4. Line a 9-inch microwavable dish with two layers of paper towels. Sprinkle seeds on the towels.
  5. Microwave at HIGH 10 – 14 minutes or until seeds are dry but still white, stirring every 5 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes.
  6. Place butter in a 2-cup measure, microwave until melted. Add seeds and salt, stir to coat.
  7. Serve as a snack.

Pumpkin Pie

FILLING:

  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (12-ounce) can evaporated low-fat milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups of fresh pumpkin (cooked and drained)

CRUST:

  • Frozen 9 inch deep pie crust

TOPPING:

  • 1/4 cup whipping cream
  • 2 teaspoons powdered sugar

Position oven rack to lowest position.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Prepare fresh pumpkin as directed above. Be sure to drain the pumpkin after cooking.  Now you are ready to use the pumpkin in recipes.   To prepare filling, combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk.  Add pumpkin, and stir with a whisk until smooth.  Pour pumpkin mixture into the crust.  Place pie plate on a baking sheet.  Place baking sheet on lowest oven rack.  Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes.  Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees  (do not remove pie from oven); bake an additional 30 minutes or until almost set.  Cool completely on wire rack.  To prepare topping, beat cream with a mixer at high speed until stiff peaks form.  Fold in the powdered sugar until blended.  Serve with pie.  Yield 1 Pie, about 6 – 8 pieces.

Available Fresh

Harvested September – October