How To Prepare & Freeze Fresh Pumpkin The Easy Way
I found this from the Farmers Almanac. Coming home from Hawaii, I had 2 small pumpkins that needed to be processed. Being afraid that they were turning, I followed the steps and it was SO easy! Hopefully this helps you as much as it helped me. I went ahead and pureed all 8 cups of pumpkin, and have been finding lots of recipes for it, let's just hope that I won't get tired of pumpkin.... ~_^
To Prepare Fresh Pumpkin for Baking and Other Uses:
Cut a pumpkin in half and then into fourths.
1. Use a large spoon or scoop to remove the seeds, and set aside (Seeds are edible and nutritious too. Save for roasting.)
2. Place the pumpkin skin-side down in a roasting pan. Add a little water to cover the bottom of the pan and cover.
3. Place in a 300°F oven. The pumpkin will take about 1 hour to bake, unless you are working with a small one.
4. Test the center of the pumpkin for softness with a knife. When the pumpkin is done, it will slice easily. Remove pumpkin from the oven when it's ready and uncover.
5. Allow to cool slightly to the touch. Cut the fleshly part away from the hard outside shell. Chop the fleshy part into 2” to 3” inch chunks.
6. If the pumpkin will be used solely for pies or breads, process the pumpkin cubes in a blender or food processor until smooth.
7. Store pumpkin in the freezer for future use. Freeze in storage containers or pressure-can in pint-canning jars.
To Freeze Fresh Pumpkin
You can enjoy baking your favorite pumpkin pies, pumpkin bread, pudding and pancakes just by freezing your fresh pumpkin. Here’s how:
1. Once the fresh pumpkin has been cooked and processed in a food processor, measure quantities for your favorite pumpkin recipes, usually 1 to 2 cup portions.
2. Measure pumpkin into freezer storage bags.
Label contents, date and quantity and store in freezer until ready to use.
To Defrost Frozen Pumpkin:
Fresh frozen pumpkin defrosts nicely and should be ready to use in only an hour after removing from the freezer. To expedite the thawing process:
1. Rip plastic freezer bag open and place pumpkin on a glass pie pan in the microwave.
Defrost 2 to 3 minutes or until soft.
2. Use defrosted pumpkin for any recipe that calls for pumpkin. It's a great substitute for the canned product.