We have officially transitioned from the warmth of summer to the cool crisp air of autumn. It’s my favorite time of year when I can find just about anything in pumpkin spice, take a walk in nature to find trees in shades of yellows and reds, and walk between booths at the farmer’s markets to find an abundance of colorful winter squash.
Among winter squash is the pumpkin, although known for making Jack-O-lanterns, pumpkins are quite tasty and nutritious too! When choosing a pumpkin to cook, look for a small sugar pumpkin, also known as a pie pumpkin, rather than a field pumpkin. Sugar pumpkins tend to be smaller with dark orange skin. When cooked, they are smooth and are less stringy than large field pumpkins. However, a field pumpkin is edible too. If you can’t find any pumpkins, opt for butternut squash or any other winter squash variety.
Now, the difference between using canned pumpkin puree and homemade pumpkin puree is that you get the most value out of your dollars spent, and you create less waste. What a win!
Pumpkins Are A Nutrient-Dense Food For Older Adults
The bright orange color should be a dead give-a-way that pumpkins contain an antioxidant called beta-carotene that converts to vitamin A in your body. Vitamin A’s benefits include supporting eye and immunity health.
Antioxidants are needed in our diet because they neutralize the harmful effects of oxidation, which occurs as a natural process. Thus by including fruits and vegetables high in antioxidants, you can reduce the harmful effects that oxidative stress and free radicals have on tissues and organs that accelerate aging.
How To Cook A Pumpkin In A Microwave
There are different ways to cook fresh pumpkin, and although I used to cut them raw, scoop out the seeds and bake them, I learned that cooking pumpkin whole in the microwave is a lot easier than trying to cut it raw. So today, I will show you step by step how to cook a pie pumpkin in the microwave and make a pumpkin puree that you can use in any recipe or even enjoy with just a touch of butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon.
What You’ll Need
Pumpkin (pumpkin pie pumpkin preferred.)
First, you want to wash your pumpkin and dry it thoroughly. Poke holes in it with a sharp knife just like you would when cooking any squash whole in the microwave. This process allows the steam escape and keeps it from exploding.
Next, you microwave it on high for about 5 minutes per pound of pumpkin, so a 2-pound pumpkin will take about 10 minutes (this will vary on your microwave voltage). You should be able to poke it with the knife and easily go through the skin and flesh. If not, cook for an additional minute or two.
After cooking the pumpkin until soft, you will want to let it cool a little so it’s easier to handle. Then you cut off the top, cut it in half, and scoop out the seeds and set them aside. Next, you can peel off the skin. It should be super easy to do with your hands once the pumpkin is cool to the touch.
To make this cooked pumpkin into a puree, you put the cooked pumpkin into a blender or food processor and process it until smooth. You or mashed with a pastry blender, if preferred. The puree is ready to use as-is, but if you need it thicker for some recipes, some chefs will tell you to place it on cheesecloth, and squeeze out the extra liquid or set it on a strainer placed over a bowl to drain for a few hours. However, I found that it works in most recipes just fine without ever needing to drain the liquid. You can also freeze this puree for up to 6 months to use at a later date. I prefer to freeze it one cup per bag so it’s pre-measured out for my recipes.
Homemade pumpkin puree video
You can watch how to make this homemade pumpkin puree step-by-step below.
Pumpkin Puree Dessert Recipes
We love this rendition of pumpkin bread by Bonnie Taub Dix. It is loaded with whole food ingredients, a great source of protein, and sweetened with one of my favorites, dark chocolate chips.
Who said you couldn’t have cake for breakfast? If you’re ready for a burst of flavor in your mouth then you will love this Pumpkin Cream Cheese Coffee Cake by Mostly Balanced.
If pumpkin pie couldn’t get any cuter! These are mini pumpkin pies that require no cooking. In addition, these no-bake nutty pumpkin squares by Shahzadi are gluten and dairy-free! In under 30 minutes, you can enjoy this healthier option that also takes care of your sweet tooth.
You may also try our own homemade fresh pumpkin pie recipe!
We are in awe of this pumpkin dessert spread in hummus form! You can serve this with apples or cookies.
Let us know in the comments which dessert you’re most likely to try.