How to Cook a Pumpkin in a Crockpot

October 30th, 2011

It’s definitely easier to crack open a can of smushed up pumpkin if you have a sudden desire to do some harvest baking.  But if you find yourself with an actual pumpkin on hand (say, if you went to a pumpkin patch with a bunch of preschoolers but then realized you’re never going to get around to carving the darned thing), it’s pretty easy to cook one yourself, too.  
The “traditional” method is to cut the pumpkin open and roast it in the oven.  But if your oven happens to be full of pumpkin spice scones or pumpkin chocolate chip muffins (as mine has been, of late), you can actually cook a pumpkin in a crock pot, too.
First, cut the pumpkin in half.  Easier said than done, I know.  I used a bread knife because it was serrated and big.  Scrape out all the insides and seeds (feel free to cook those, though I’m not a fan of pumpkin seeds).  Cut your pumpkin into chunks that will fit in your crock pot.  Add enough water to cover the bottom of the pot and come up about 3/4 of an inch on the sides.  Cover and cook on high for four hours.

Then you scrape the pumpkin flesh off the rind and puree it in a food processor.  Whenever you cook and squish pumpkin (though especially in the crock pot), it’s worth draining it through a cheesecloth because it tends to get a bit watery.  And, voila!  Pumpkin puree, ready to bake with.
I actually made a spreadsheet of pumpkin recipes.  Don’t laugh.  It’s good sense!  I scoured all my cookbooks for pumpkin dishes that looked yummy — everything from pumpkin waffles to pumpkin lentil soup to pumpkin bars — then put the cookbook and page number (or web address for the online recipes I’ve found lately) in the spreadsheet.  
I also noted any unusual ingredients that I might not have readily available.  Most pumpkin baking calls for pretty standard ingredients but if you’re going to make pumpkin bars, for example, you need to be sure you have cream cheese on hand.  Pumpkin waffles require a container of vanilla yogurt.  That sort of thing.
Now, when I get a pumpkin-cooking yen, I can just consult my spreadsheet to find a good recipe and leap into action.  I’m planning to try pumpkin fudge this evening…

2 responses to “How to Cook a Pumpkin in a Crockpot”

  1. Opa says:

    Wow, you learned spreadsheet magic from your mother, but somehow didn't learn her distaste of pumpkin!

  2. G'Mom says:

    Remind me not to come to Pittsburgh in the fall ever again – or at least not until your pumpkin supply is used up.

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