Quick and Healthy Pumpkin Recipes 

The mild flavor of pumpkin lends itself well to a variety of interesting dishes. Beyond pumpkin pie, use in soup, pureed as a side dish, in pumpkin bread, custards, muffins and cookies.


Nutritional Value and Health Benefits of Pumpkin

The orange-flesh is a dead giveaway that pumpkin is a source of beta carotene which is a powerful antioxidant. Beta carotene is converted to vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is essential for healthy skin, vision, bone development and many other functions. Pumpkin is also a tasty source of carbohydrates and potassium.


Nutrition Facts

1 cup cooked mashed pumpkin

  • Calories: 24
  • Protein: 1 gram
  • Carbohydrates: 5.98 grams
  • Dietary Fiber: 1 gram
  • Potassium: 280.6 mg
  • Phosphorus: 36.6 mg
  • Vitamin A: 1320 IU
  • Vitamin C: 5.73 mg


Preparation and Serving

Peeling pumpkin can be a challenge to the novice. To open, place the pumpkin on newspaper and insert the tip of a chef knife or break it open by cracking on a hard surface. Scoop out the strings and seeds and discard, unless you plan to roast the seeds. Wash each section and use a sharp paring knife or vegetable to peel the large pieces. The pieces can be baked unpeeled as well.

The pieces can be cooked until soft in a small amount of boiling water, in steam, or in a pressure cooker. The oven method is very easy. To bake, place cut side down on a shallow baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or longer. Test for doneness by piercing with a fork. When tender, remove from the oven, allow to cool before handling. If unpeeled, spoon out the soft flesh and proceed with any recipe calling for cooked mashed pumpkin or substitute in recipes calling for canned pumpkin.

For microwaving, place cut side down and microwave on high for 15 minutes or until fork tender. At this point the pumpkin can be seasoned with cinnamon and brown sugar and served as a side dish with meals.


Home Preservation

Pumpkin can be preserved by freezing or canning. To freeze, cook as directed above. To cool, place pan containing pumpkin in cold water and stir occasionally. Package in zip closure freezer bags or ridged containers leaving 1/2 inch head space. Seal and freeze. Read more on preserving pumpkin at the National Center for Home Preservation.


To Can Pumpkin

Pumpkin must be processed in a pressure canner.

  • Wash pumpkin remove seeds, cut into large pieces and peel.
  • Cut into 1-inch cubes.
  • Add to a saucepan of boiling water, boil 2 minutes.
  • Caution: Do not mash or puree for canning.
  • Pack hot cubes into hot jars, leaving 1-inch head space.
  • Fill jars to 1-inch from the top with boiling hot cooking liquid.
  • Remove air bubbles.
  • Wipe jar rims.
  • Adjust lids and process.

Process in a Dial Gauge Pressure Canner at 11 pounds pressure or in a Weighted Gauge Pressure Canner at 10 pounds pressure. Pints: 55 minutes and quarts 90 minutes.

Pumpkin Bread