Tuesday, November 3, 2009

How to Use a Pie Pumpkin

During our annual visit to the pumpkin patch, I picked out some pie pumpkins with the intention of using them to make pumpkin butter. The problem? I have, to this point, been a devoted user of Libby’s canned pumpkin. I did a little research, dragged out a couple of cookbooks, and figured it out. Here goes nothin’.

What you need:
Pie pumpkins (about 6” diameter)
A sharp knife
Cutting board
Ice cream scoop or melon baller
Large microwave-safe bowl
Saran wrap or lid for aforementioned bowl
Food processor or blender

Step 1: Have a cute baby carry your pumpkin around the kitchen while you gather your supplies.

Step 2: Cut the pumpkins in half. Some things I read suggested that using a serrated knife makes this easier. I don’t have a very good serrated knife, so I used a regular chef’s knife with a slow rocking motion, so I wouldn’t cut myself.

Step 3: Using an ice cream scoop or melon baler, scoop out the pulp (aka orange goop, at my house) and seeds. I save the seeds for roasting, but what you do with them is entirely up to you.

Step 4: Pile up the pumpkins in that microwave-safe bowl and put just a little bit of water in the bottom. Cover the bowl with Saran wrap.

Step 5: Microwave for 15 minutes. (This is a good time to clean those pumpkin seeds if you’re going to roast them, or fold a load of laundry.)

Step 6: Here, you can either peel the skin off the pumpkins or scoop out the flesh. Use tongs to remove them from the bowl, because they will be very hot. Place the flesh in your food processor or blender.

Step 7: Puree! I ended up with about 4 cups of puree from my three 6-inch pumpkins.

At this point, you can do whatever you want with your pumpkin puree. I chose to make pumpkin butter, and I’ll share the recipe in a minute. However, I’m sure this fresh pumpkin would make a wonderful pie, loaf of bread, pancakes, or anything else you’d normally crack open the Libby’s can for. I chose to make pumpkin butter, because it’s one of my favorite things from the Apple Barn in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, and I haven’t been there in, oh, six or seven years. On to the recipe!

Pumpkin Butter
Pumpkin puree
Sugar (1/2 c. for each cup of puree)
3/4 tsp. Ground cloves
1 tsp. Ground allspice
2 tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Nutmeg

Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker, and cook on low for 10-12 hours. Can while hot. (I just buy a package of jars and use the instructions on the bottom for canning.)

I’d say you probably don’t need to can it if you intend to use it pretty quickly, but that all depends on how much you make. And for you skeptics, pumpkin butter is wonderful! It’s great on toast and biscuits, and it tastes like pumpkin pie. Yum!


  1. Just need to know, how many cups of pumpkin for that amount of spices?

  2. I had four cups of pumpkin. If you use more, I'd probably just add and taste as I went. :)

  3. Stopped by from Kimba's! NEW follower!

  4. Can I borrow your cute baby for step one?

  5. Sounds wonderful!! Thanks for sharing!

  6. It sounds so yummy! I've never tried pumpkin butter but I do love pumpkin pie. I wonder if specialty stores sell this as I would like to try it.

  7. Hmmm..I've got two painted pumpkins sitting on my counter. They aren't very round though. Wonder if they'd work?

  8. thank you for sharing. i am going to make some this weekend.