How To Prepare a Pumpkin Without Waste

Prepare a Pumpkin with very little waste.

When I prepare a pumpkin, I think of my Grandma. If she wasn’t shelling peas (and getting us to help), we were picking pecans off the ground. We would float in the pool to cool with watermelons…and Grandma was in the kitchen cooking or canning into a sterilized glass mason jar. She taught me that food should be simple, whole, healthful, and delicious.

prepare a pumpkin


Pumpkins are no exception! The whole process to prepare a pumpkin is simple and provides wonderful enjoyment and recipes for days to come.

Amazing pumpkin recipes too

Sometimes it’s so wonderful that you buy so many of the beautiful pumpkins! Your house will look like a Fall Harvest but when your neighbors bring their kids  over for photos of their children you’ll know it’s magic!

As we harvest organic pumpkins from our local farmers, I realize the value of this beautiful vegetable/fruit. We have a pumpkin for decor in our dining area for two months and we can still eat it (except when a child punctures holes all around it, then we prepare a pumpkin and it’s a very rewarding harvest. Pumpkins can last 3-6 months in your home.

Although pumpkins have never lasted 6 months for us, it certainly helps to sustain the plant with the stem on. Pathogens try to enter through the stem area and through the wounds of fruit (like punctured holes), so keep those stems on for protection and longevity. No refrigeration is necessary, until cooked of course.


As a child growing up in the country, I was fortunate to have Grandparents who did a little farming and knew the local farmers. My Grandmas could cook and they made everything from scratch with very little waste.  So does my Mom! Today, I wish I would have paid attention more, but I did get my fair share of helping, thankfully!

For those who want to save money, this is also a great value. You can also buy in a can for convenience.

Preparing From start to finish

Prepare a pumpkin

Take your pumpkin, holding on to the stem, and cut a circle around the top at a 45° angle.

Prepare a pumpkin

Now for my secret weapon: The right tool is critical. This grapefruit spoon is perfectly curved and serrated.

Prepare a Pumpkin

Scratch out the seeds and place on a cookie sheet.

Prepare a pumpkin

See all that pulp! I’ve removed all I could, with the children’s help. Now we fill the pan with water and sprinkle with salt;  set to the side and let it soak and sprout until tomorrow.

Prepare a Pumpkin

Now back to pumpkin: place the “hat” back on the pumpkin to cook for 40-45 minutes at 350°F.

Prepare a pumpkin

The Right Timing

Be careful not to cook too long or it turns to mush. Conversely, if the meat is not coming off easily, just pop back in the oven for another 15 minutes and repeat until ready. This one needed to cook for 1 hour. Scrape out the meat from the sides and put into a container. You can just cut the whole pumpkin in half and get all the meat right next to the skin. And don’t stress if some of the “stringy stuff” is still in there, it will only provide a little more fiber. Or you can make a fun recipe I’ve shared here for pumpkin soup.

Now you have 3-4 cans worth of pumpkin meat! Simply store the meat in a container and place in the refrigerator.  Use within 3 weeks. There are some recipes below.

Remember the Seeds, they are a nutritious part as we prepare a pumpkin.Prepare a PumpkinIt has been a day and now we empty the seeds from the pan into a collander. Simply swish the seeds in a bowl with a strainer and the remaining pulp is released. Let the children place the seeds on a cookie sheet and spread evenly.

Prepare a Pumpkin

Some call these pepitas (technically for green seeds), we just call them GOOD!  I’m getting ahead, sorry.

Now sprinkle spices to your tasting; cumin, salt, chile, cayenne. The amount depends on how many seeds you get. From experience I can say the amount is more than you think, and the spices stick nicely when the seeds are wet.

Prepare a Pumpkin

Have children (with clean hands) stir well.  Also, make sure NO touching the face until hands are washed.

Low Cooking

Cook the seeds on the lowest setting, around 170°F for 4-6 hours.  Little hands will devour the seeds before it is finished.  I have gone to remove from the oven to find only 2 seeds remaining!

With practice,  all my children know how to cook by age 6? The older ones help the younger children and everyone has fun preparing and eating! Now you know how to prepare a pumpkin.

Here are some links to amazing pumpkin recipes  (if ingredients call for a can, use 1 and 1/3 cup homemade pumpkin): Butter!…/simple-crock-pot-apple…/  Easy and delicious.  Catch all!

Breakfast…/ pancake in a skillet. Pass the cream! Just add butter above!

Drinks:   Superfood smoothie…/pumpkin-spice-latte.html  Mmm..Cozy…/pumpkin-pie-smoothie-with…/  Surprise inside.

Breads:…/  Fantastic gluten free bread…/pumpkin-nut-sourdough…  So good.…/pumpkin-chocolate-chip…/  For that someone special…  Muffins.

Desserts:…/  Pumpkin fudge.… Breakfast or anytime!…/11/20/pumpkin-cream-cookies/  Wow! Perfect.

Now I have to go buy more pumpkin before there are no more…

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5 thoughts on “How To Prepare a Pumpkin Without Waste

  1. […] Here is a great post from Fostering Nutrition on how our ancestors used to prepare a pumpkin includi… […]

  2. […] How to Prepare a Pumpkin – Fostering Nutrition […]

  3. […] How to Prepare a Pumpkin – Fostering Nutrition How to Preserve Winter Squash without Cooking it – Wellness Mama How to Make Pumpkin Puree (SO Easy!) – Oh, the Things We’ll Make! *Where to buy the best pureed pumpkin* […]

  4. […] How Our Ancestors Prepare a Pumpkin; Plus 26 Amazing Recipe Links by Fostering Nutrition […]

  5. […] How to Prepare a Pumpkin – Fostering Nutrition How to Preserve Winter Squash without Cooking it – Wellness Mama How to Make Pumpkin Puree (SO Easy!) – Oh, the Things We’ll Make! *Where to buy the best pureed pumpkin* […]

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