How to Steam Fresh Pumpkin

Top salads with steamed pumpkin for added fiber and vitamins.
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Rather than buying a can of pumpkin puree, you can steam your own fresh pumpkin. Use the tender, cooked veggie as pie filling or in a host of other baked goods (think: tasty seasonal cakes and cookies). You can also use steamed pumpkin in savory dishes, such as soups and stews.

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Choose a pumpkin that is designated for cooking instead of a pumpkin grown for carving and decorating. The best pumpkins for steaming include Long Island Cheese pumpkins and sugar pumpkins. Carving pumpkins tend to have less flesh and more seeds than small baking pumpkins.

Here's how to steam pumpkin at home in a few easy steps.

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Things You'll Need

  • Pumpkin

  • Vegetable peeler

  • Chef's knife

  • Large metal spoon

  • Steamer basket

  • Large pot with lid

  • Fork

  • Stick blender or potato masher

1. Peel the Pumpkin

Use a sharp vegetable peeler to remove the skin from the entire pumpkin. Discard the skin.

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Tip

Pumpkin skin is edible and you don't have to peel it off, depending on the recipe you're making. If you're making pumpkin puree, you'll want to peel the pumpkin to get rid of the tough skin. But if you're steaming pumpkin to use as a side dish or some such, feel free to steam it with the skin on (just make sure to wash the pumpkin first).

2. Core the Pumpkin

Cut the pumpkin in half with a sharp chef's knife. Use a large metal spoon to remove the pumpkin seeds and stringy innards from the pumpkin halves.

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3. Chop the Pumpkin

Chop the pumpkin flesh into 2-inch-square cubes with a chef's knife.

4. Set Up Your Steamer

Set a steamer basket into a large pot. Fill the pot with water until the water just touches the bottom of the basket.

5. Add Your Pumpkin

Place the pumpkin cubes in the steamer basket and set the lid on the pot.

6. Bring Water to a Boil

Set the pot on the stove and turn the burner to medium heat. Bring the water to a boil.

7. Steam the Pumpkin

Reduce the heat and simmer the water for 25 minutes.

8. Check for Doneness

Stick a fork into a pumpkin cube to check for doneness. The pumpkin will be soft when cooked. It can take up to 40 minutes for the pumpkin to be fully cooked.

9. Remove From Steamer

Remove the steamer basket from the pot and pour the pumpkin chunks into a bowl.

10. Mash the Pumpkin (Optional)

Puree the mixture with a stick blender or potato masher if you are replacing canned pumpkin puree with the freshly cooked pumpkin.

Warning

Do not cook a pumpkin that has already been carved. Once cut, pumpkins begin to develop mold.

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