Pumpkins – More than just decorations

By Getty Stewart, Professional Home Economist

Pumpkins make great jack o’lanterns, but if you’re ready to take your pumpkins to the next level, check out these recipes collected from fellow home economists.

Pumpkin Puree – Getting the Good Stuff

Thanks to an original article by Marilee Hornung and Sheri Taylor

To make your own pumpkin puree, pumpkins need to be cooked and then cooled, peeled and pureed.  The puree can be frozen and used for up to a year.

To bake, halve the pumpkin removing seeds and strings. Cut into serving-size pieces. Place on a foil-lined pan (to avoid juices burning onto the pan). Pour 1 cm (1/2 inch) of water onto the pan. Cover with foil and bake in a 180 C (350 F) oven until tender, about 40 minutes.

To boil, place the peeled pumpkin in boiling water and cook until tender (about 12 minutes). Although this method is faster, the boiling water will dilute the flavour slightly.

To microwave, place the pumpkin chunks on a shallow microwavable dish. Cover and cook until tender (about 8 minutes). Rotate the dish halfway through the cooking time.

You can mash cooked pumpkin with a potato masher, put it through a food mill or puree it in a blender or food processor. Pumpkin can be very watery, so be sure the pieces are well drained after cooking, then drain the puree again before storing.

Pumpkin is traditionally combined with cream, eggs and spices to make pumpkin pie. When served in a pastry crust, a slice gets almost half of its calories from fat. By substituting evaporated skim milk for the cream, you will cut the fat significantly. If you choose a graham cracker crust, you will cut the fat and calories even more.

Once you have the puree, try some of these pumpkin recipes.

* These same techniques can be used for most winter squash.

Classic Pumpkin Pie

Courtesy of the Home Economists of the Association of Saskatchewan Home Economists

1 unbaked 9 inch (23 cm) pastry shell 1
2 large eggs 2
1 cup brown sugar 250 mL
1/2 tsp salt 2 L
1 1/4 tsp cinnamon 6 mL
1/2 tsp each nutmeg, ginger, allspice 2 mL
1 1/2 cups Pumpkin puree (homemade or canned) 375 mL
1 cup evaporated milk 250 mL

Roll out pastry to fit a 9 inch (23 cm) deep pie plate. Trim and flute edges. Chill about 15 minutes. Beat eggs in mixing bowl. Stir in sugar, salt, spices and pumpkin. Add milk and blend until smooth. Bake on lowest oven rack in hot oven at 450°F (230°C) for 10 minutes. Lower temperature to 350° F (180°C) and continue baking 35-45 minutes longer or until knife inserted in filling comes out clean. Cool and serve with dollops of whipped cream.


Pumpkin Soup

Courtesy of previous article by Heather Torrie, Public Health Nutritionist

2 tbsp                     margarine                                        25 mL

1 cup                      onion, chopped                                250 mL

2                            large cloves garlic, finely chopped    2

1 – 1 1/2 tsp            curry powder                                   5-7 mL

1/4 tsp                    ground pepper                                 1 mL

2 cups                    canned or pureed pumpkin               500 mL

3 cups                    chicken broth                                   750 mL

1 1/2 cups              milk                                                 375 mL

Melt margarine in large saucepan. Add onion and garlic. Cook, stirring often for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in curry powder, salt and pepper. Cook for 1 minute. Add broth and pumpkin. Reduce heat to low and cook for 15 to 20 minutes. Stir occasionally. Transfer soup to blender. Blend until smooth. Return to saucepan and add milk. Serve warm.

Cinnamon Sugar Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

Submitted by Kathryn Baranovsky, PHEc.  Recipe from the Woman’s Day website.

2 cups              Pumpkin Seeds (from 2 medium pumpkins), rinsed and patted dry

2 Tbsp              Unsalted Butter, melted

2 Tbsp              Sugar

1/2 tsp              Kosher Salt

1/4 tsp              Ground Cinnamon

Heat oven to 300°F. Spread the seeds on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until totally dry throughout, 50 to 60 minutes. Transfer the seeds to a large bowl (reserve the baking sheet). Increase oven temperature to 350°F.  Drizzle the butter over the pumpkin seeds, sprinkle with the sugar, salt and cinnamon, and toss to coat. Spread the seeds in an even layer on the reserved sheet and bake, tossing occasionally, until golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes.

Pumpkin Muffins

Courtesy of the Home Economists of the Association of Saskatchewan Home Economists

2                            eggs                                                                      2

1 1/4 cups              sugar                                                             300 mL

1/3 cup                   canola oil                                                      175 mL

1 cup                      pumpkin puree                                            250 mL

1/4 tsp                    baking soda                                                    1 mL

2 1/4 cups              flour                                                              550 mL

21/2 tsp                  baking powder                                             12 mL

1/2 tsp                    salt                                                                    2 mL

1/2 tsp                    each nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon                 2 mL

Beat eggs until lemon coloured. Add sugar and oil. Add soda to pumpkin puree. Sift together dry ingredients and add alternately with pumpkin puree to egg mixture, stirring just until blended. Spoon into paper lined muffin tins. Bake at 375°F (190°C) 20 -25 minutes or until tops are firm to touch. Makes about 2 dozen muffins.


Pumpkin Pudding

Courtesy of the Home Economists of the Association of Saskatchewan Home Economists

The cornmeal and the pumpkin combination in this recipe made for a rich, smooth pudding.

2 cups                  milk                                                    500 mL

1/3 cup                 white or yellow cornmeal                 75 mL

1/4 cup                 pure maple syrup                              50 mL

1/2 cup                 brown sugar, packed                       125 mL

1/4 cup                 butter                                                 50 mL

1 tsp                    salt                                                     5 mL

1/2 tsp                 cinnamon                                          2 mL

1/2 tsp                 cloves                                                 2 mL

1/2 tsp                 allspice                                               2 mL

1/8 tsp                 nutmeg                                               .5 mL

1 cup                   pumpkin puree                                 250 mL

1                          egg, beaten                                         1

Preheat the oven to 300° F (150° C). Using the top of a double boiler bring the milk to a boil. Slowly stir in the cornmeal, then place the mixture over the boiling water and cook for fifteen minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the maple syrup and cook an additional five minutes. Remove from heat and mix in all other ingredients. Pour into a well-greased baking dish and bake for 1 1/2 hours or until it tests done.   Serve warm with whip cream. Serves 4 to 6.


Pumpkin Pickles

Submitted by Mary Jane Eason of Mary Jane’s Cooking School in Winnipeg, Manitoba, a registered charity that provides education in nutritional home cooking and homemaking in harmony with individual community and cultural traditions, with respect and care for the environment.

2 cups              Vinegar

2 cups              Sugar

1 cup                Water

1 Tbsp             Pickling Spice (use your favorite spices, such as cinnamon, cloves and whole allspice)

6 to 8 cups       Pumpkin peeled and cut into cubes (about 1 pumpkin)

Cook syrup for 15 minutes with pickling spice tied in cheese cloth.  Add enough pumpkin for syrup to cover.  Cook until pumpkin is glazed.  Fill in hot sterilized jars with pumpkin and pour boiling syrup over pickles and seal.  Process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.


Thank you the contribution and work of the Public Health Nutritionists of Saskatchewan for their previously published articles on winter squash on homefamily.net.  In particular, thanks to Donna Nelson, Cathy Knox, Barb Wright, Heather Torrie, Dorothy Lang, Marilee Hornung and Sheri Taylor.  Their work helped form the basis of this article.