Pumpkin Basics

Pumpkin Information

  • The deep orange color of pumpkin flesh is a sure sign that pumpkin is a good source of vitamin A.
  • One cup of cooked pumpkin (without salt) has only 49 calories and is a great source of Vitamin A containing 2,650 IU.
  • For pie filling and other cooking needs, select sugar pumpkins — a smaller, sweeter variety with close-grained flesh.

Pumpkin Puree for Pies or Bread

Boiled: Cut washed, peeled 2- to 4- pound pumpkin into 2-inch chunks; cook in boiling water until tender.

Baked: Wash the outside and cut crosswise. Clean out the seeds and pulp and put flesh-side down in a baking pan with a bit of water. Bake at 350 °F for 1½ hours or until flesh is tender.

A sugar pumpkin baked with stuffing makes an attractive addition to the holiday table.

A sugar pumpkin baked with stuffing makes an attractive addition to the holiday table.
Kimberly Baker, ©2015, Clemson Extension

Plain Pumpkin Pie for Eating

Cut off the top of a washed 2½- to 3-pound sugar pumpkin, saving the lid and stem for a handle. Scrape out the seeds and pulp, wipe out the inside, then brush with melted butter and sugar or salt. Replace the lid and bake in the oven at 350 °F for 35 minutes. Coat the inside again with butter, sugar, or salt, and bake another 10 to 15 minutes or until fork tender. Slice the pumpkin into wedges and serve.

Freezing Pumpkin

To start, select a full-colored, mature pumpkin with a fine texture. Wash the pumpkin and cut it into cooking size sections. Remove the seeds. Cook in boiling water, in steam, in a pressure cooker, or in an oven until the pumpkin is soft. Remove pulp from rind and mash. To cool, place the pot or pan containing pumpkin in cold water and stir occasionally. Package leaving ½ inch headspace, and freeze.

Pumpkin Seeds

To Dry: Carefully wash pumpkin seeds to remove the clinging fibrous pumpkin tissue. Seeds can be dried until crisp in the sun, in a dehydrator at 115 to 120 °F for 1 to 2 hours, or in an oven on warm for 3 to 4 hours. Stir frequently to avoid scorching.

To Roast: Toss dried pumpkin seeds with oil (1 teaspoon per cup of seeds). Salt or season to taste. Roast in a preheated oven at 250 °F for 10 to 15 minutes.

Pumpkin Pie or Custard

Preheat oven to 375 °F. Blend together a 13 oz. can of evaporated skim milk, 2 eggs, a 16 oz. can pumpkin, ¾ cups sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon cloves, ½ teaspoon ginger and ½ teaspoon salt. Pour into pie shell. Bake at 375 °F for about 1 hour. The pie is done when you can insert a knife in the center of the pie and it comes out clean. To cut down on the amount of fat in the pie, omit the pie crust and bake in 8 individual custard dishes in the oven at 375 °F for 40 minutes.

For more information, request HGIC 3281, Pumpkin & Winter Squash, or HGIC 3086, Drying Herbs, Seeds & Nuts.



Originally published 10/01

If this document didn’t answer your questions, please contact HGIC at or 1-888-656-9988.

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