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How to cook a whole pumpkin

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Many people balk at the prospect of cooking pumpkin (or butternut squash) because it's so difficult to get into them. If you've ever tried to peel and cut them into chunks you'll know it's an uphill struggle, which is why I never, ever do that. I prefer to throw the whole thing into the oven and forget about for an hour while it bakes, and then peel it apart. It makes life so much easier! The only drawback is that you can't use the flesh to make roasted chunks for a curry or similar because it's too soft, but it is wonderful for using in pumpkin pie or for flavouring a lentil pie. Yum! You can also use it for making cakes - it's great in carrot cake - as well as pancakes. It's an extremely versatile vegetable (or fruit depending on your take). So here's a quick and easy guide. What you do with it is up to you!


  1. Preheat your oven to 170C. 
  2. Use a knife to stab the hard outer shell a few times to allow for ventilation.
  3. Place the whole pumpkin in a glass baking dish or lined oven tray and transfer to the oven to roast for 45-60 minutes, depending on the size of your pumpkin. The pumpkin is ready when the flesh is darker, and the skin can be easily pierced with a fork.
  4. Cut the pumpkin in half, and allow to cool for 20-30 minutes, until cool enough to handle. 
  5. Use a large spoon to scrape out the seeds. (You can bake the seeds for use in cereals or salads.)
  6. The skin should peel off very easily at this point, so remove the skin and scoop out the flesh.
A whole pumpkin baking on an oven tray
Throw your pumpkin in the oven and cut out all the hassle!

Pumpkin Puree

  1. Place the cooked pumpkin into a food processor and blend until a smooth puree is formed. You may have to do this in batches, depending on the size of your pumpkin. 
  2. Store the pumpkin puree in a sealed container in the fridge for up to a week. It also freezes brilliantly so you can store it for later.