How to butcher a fresh pumpkin

Cut your pumpkin open and then slice it like you would a cantaloupe. Into slices…

Once you cut it into slices use a pairing knife and cut out the strings/seeds as best as you can. Then cut the slice into 2 pieces so you have chunks like you see below. Big chunks are not a bad thing. You will be glad for bigger chunks after it cooks….

Then you fill the big pot with lots of water till it covers all the pumpkin. They will float up. That is GOOD you do not want it so packed that the pumpkin on the bottom will burn while you boil it. So it floats up away a inch or 2 off the bottom is ideal and you can sorta stir it. I filled mine up pretty high and put a lid on it, on a glass top stove it takes 75 minutes or so to come to a boil

While it is heating up we took all the guts and picked out tons of seeds we will roast and make something yummy later.

Here you can see it boiling and that the pastel yellow pumpkin has now turned into bright yellow/orangy color. When you poke at the meat of the pumpkin and it is really soft it is done. Hard boil for a good 15 or so minutes?

Drain off all the water and let it cool for a good hour or more. The skin of the pumpkin will LITERALLY fall off as you see below. This is a photo of an uncooled piece that is still really really hot. The peel just falls off.

Once it is all cooled take a paring knife and cut off all the peels saving all the meat in a bowl.

DO NOT try to peel while hot. Because even if it is cooled off on the outside you can pick up, while you start getting the skin off water leaks out of the meat of the pieces and usually STILL very hot inside will burn you. So this is not a process to rush.

Once you get all the meat together, mash it like you do mashed potatoes. And then put it thru a strainer and strain out all the water. It will need to be REALLLY strained well. Water you do not really want because then when you measure out the pumpkin meat it will not be accurate.

Big bowl of pumpkin meat..

All the skins

Once you strain it all the water as best as you can. Get freezer bags and I usually make 2 cups of pumpkin meat per bag. So that is usually what a pie recipe calls for etc. Label it the size and drop in your freezer. TRUST me when I say strain it well- what will happen if you do not- you make up your 2 cups of pumpkin. Freeze it- when you need it later you thaw it all the water separates out of the pumpkin THEN. You now do not have 2 cups of pumpkin. And if you avoid straining it, and just dump in your pie/breads… you now have watery pie/bread that wont cook right. So- this step do not skip. Strain well! You will thank me- I have tried to cheat the 1st year I did it on my own with out my mom/grandma helping me. And it was not fun ruining stuff, or having to thaw another 2 cups out because i had a full cup in water weight.
Then I will make myself a few 1 cup bags for things that ask for like 2 1/2 cups or 3 cups. Then I am not wasting pumpkin.

That is it. Once it is frozen it can keep for a year or so. Mine never lasts a full year because we use it all up!!. We butcher about 3 pumpkins a year- this year I am doing 5. We ran out of pumpkin as of tonight from last year making our pie. So this comes at a perfect time!!

So when it calls for so many cups of canned pumpkin just substitute it for the real. It wont be as orangy but heck why do you need all those dyes in your food? A pumpkin pie that is made of REAL pumpkin always has a yellow color to it.

I will be honest- the hardest part is just cutting the pumpkin into slices. The rest is really quite easy and doesn’t take that long. Waiting for it to cook yes- but go read a good book. HAHAH

Sounds like alot of work but it is soooo worth it, and really its not that bad!! Because if I can do it- surely you can too!

2 Responses to How to butcher a fresh pumpkin
  1. Sonja :)
    October 22, 2009 | 2:45 pm

    This is fascinating to me! I’d love to be able to do this, but I’m not clear about how exactly to strain it. Do I need a cheesecloth or something like that?
    Thank you!
    Your site is very nice. I just found it today. :)

  2. admin
    October 22, 2009 | 3:19 pm

    Thank you Sonja!

    To strain it, I just put it in a colander and let the water run off. And as I squish up the pulp the water runs out. I should of photographed it in the colander. I bet a cheese cloth would work well too and probably better! I just may try that this year, as I really need to get more water out of the pulp. What I find that helps is when it freezes, and when I thaw out the water has worked itself out during the thawing and I pour it off. But to use it fresh and warm I usually just colander strain it.

    Its really quite easy- and I hear many places are having a pumpkin shortage. Check your local market for good deals. Here in the Orlando area- the store ALDI’S has them on sale for 2.49 each. They are HUGE. So I stocked up big time. Now I have 6 very large pumpkins staring at me to be butchered. :)

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Both deaf since the age of 3, Chad and Mary Beth enjoy not only raising their little family but photographing together, cooking & crafting as well. Living in Central Florida with their ... Read More About Us »