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Pumpkin Recipes

Recipes } Pumpkin & Squash

How to Cook Fresh Pumpkin

It’s best to choose small and sweet-sugar pie pumpkins, which are perfect for pies, soups, muffins and breads. Field pumpkins, primarily used for carving jack-o-lanterns, are too large and stringy for baking.

A medium sized (4 lb.) sugar pumpkin should make about 1-½ cups of pumpkin puree. There are three ways to transform an uncooked pumpkin into the puree used in baking.

Baking Method

  • Cut the pumpkin in half and discard the stem section and stringy pulp.  Save the seeds to dry and roast
  • In a shallow baking dish, place the two halves face down and cover with foil
  • Bake in a preheated 375 degrees F oven for about 1 ½ hours for a medium-sized sugar pumpkin, or until tender
  • Once the baked pumpkin has cooled, scoop out the flesh and puree or mash it.
  • For silky smooth custards or soups, press the pumpkin puree through a sieve

Boiling Method

  • Cut the pumpkin in half, discarding the stringy insides
  • Peel the pumpkin and cut it into chunks
  • Place in a saucepan and cover with water
  • Bring to a boil and cook until the pumpkin chunks are tender
  • Let the chunks cool, and then puree the flesh in a food processor or mash it with a potato masher

Microwave Method

  • Cut the pumpkin in half, discarding the stringy insides
  • Microwave on high power for seven minutes per pound, turning pieces every few minutes to promote even cooking. Process as above.
  • You can refrigerate your fresh pumpkin puree for up to three days, or store it in the freezer up to six month. enabling you to enjoy fall pumpkins for months to come.

How to Cook Winter Squash

Aside from its beauty (bold and vibrant colors and great centerpiece properties), winter squash is also healthy and delicious. There are several varieties of winter squash that are available at the Mesilla Valley Maze Family Fun Farm. They include, but are not limited to, butternut squash, spaghetti squash, and acorn squash. Winter squash is very thick skinned and if you’ve never handled it, the idea of cooking with it can be a little daunting. Since many recipes call for pre-cooked squash, below you will find several ways to make the most of your winter squash.

A medium sized (4 lb.) sugar pumpkin should make about 1-½ cups of pumpkin puree. There are three ways to transform an uncooked pumpkin into the puree used in baking.

Baking Method

  • Cut smaller squash (like acorn squash) in half; scoop out the seeds
  • Place 2 tsp. of honey, brown sugar, or maple syrup and 1 TBSP of butter into their centers
  • Bake in a preheated 350 oven for about 30 minutes or until easily pierced with a fork

Roasting Method

The roasting method for cooking squash helps to maintains squash’s delicate flavor.

  • Cut squash in half and scoop out the seeds.
  • Place the squash halves, cut-side up, on a rimmed baking sheet.
  • Rub the flesh with butter or oil, season with salt and pepper, and drizzle with brown sugar, maple syrup, or orange juice.
  • Flip the squash over and roast them for 40 to 45 minutes in a preheated 400 oven.
  • Roast squash until the skin is blistered. (Insert a fork under the skin to test that the flesh is tender.)
  • When the squash has cooled, the skin should peel off easily.
  • Once roasted and cooled, you can mash the squash and use in any recipe calling for squash puree.
  • Time saver tip: Cook several squash at once and freeze it for use during the holidays!

Boiling Method

  • Cut squash in half and discard the seeds
  • Peel and cut the squash into chunks
  • Cook squash in boiling water in a covered saucepan until the squash is fork tender.
  • Let cool then puree the flesh in a blender or with a hand masher.
  • To use the puree in pies, pass it through a trainer or sieve to remove any fibers or chunks.

Watch Videos

Prepare Butternut Squash

Prepare Spaghetti Squash

The Ultimate Pasta Substitute - When cooked properly, spaghetti squash has a texture close to that of pasta. It only has 42 calories per cup, lots of fiber, and doesn’t have all the carbs which are found in pasta. A 4 lb spaghetti squash will yield about 4 cups of squash. Use spaghetti squash in any recipe that calls for spaghetti pasta. You may use any cooking method mentioned above to cook the squash. Once cooked, scoop out all the flesh with a fork. Then add the topping of your choice. One of our favorites is simply butter and garlic, and topped with parmesan cheese.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds Recipe
  • 2 cups fresh pumpkin seeds
  • 3 TBSP butter, melted
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Line a 10"x15"x1" baking pan with foil and grease the foil. Combine all ingredients in a bowl; spread onto prepared pan. Bake at 250 degrees for 45-50 minutes, stirring occasionally. Increase heat to 325 degree. Bake 5 minutes longer or until seeds are dry and lightly browned. Serve warm, or cool before storing in an airtight container. Yield: 2 cups.

Fiery Pumpkin Seeds

Fiery Pumpkin Seeds Recipe
  • 1 cup fresh pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tsp hot sauce
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ¼ tsp pepper

Line a 10"x15"x1" baking pan with foil and grease the foil. Toss the pumpkin seeds with hot sauce in a bowl. Combine the remaining ingredients; sprinkle over seeds and toss to coat. Spread seeds onto pan. Bake, uncovered, at 250 degrees for 45-50 minutes or until seeds are lightly browned and dry, stirring occasionally. Cool completely. Store in an airtight container. Yield: 1 cup.

Apple Butter Pumpkin Pie

  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon corn starch
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 cup apple butter
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon each ground ginger, cloves and nutmeg
  • 1 unbaked pastry shell (9 inches)
  • Whipped cream & toasted chopped pecan pieces (Optional)


  1. In a large bowl, combine brown sugar and cornstarch, add next 5 ingredients, stir well. Whisk in salt and spices until well blended. Pour into pastry shell.
  2. Bake at 400° for 50-55 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Cover edges loosely with foil during the last 20 minutes if necessary. Cool on wire rack. Garnish with whipped cream and pecans if desired. Refrigerate leftovers.

Yield: 8 servings. TOTAL TIME: Prep: 25 min. Bake: 50 min. + cooling