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Produce Spotlight on Pumpkins

Pumpkins are a colorful vegetable from the squash family. They are a good source of vitamins A and C, potassium, and fiber.  


Shopping for Pumpkins

Choose firm, brightly colored pumpkins with a hard shell. They should be  heavy for their size and free from blemishes. Avoid pumpkins with soft or brown spots. For cooking, select small 3 to 6 pound pumpkins. Pumpkins grown in Massachusetts are available from September through November at farmers’ markets, farmstands, and pick-your-own farms. Canned pumpkin is available year-round in the grocery store.  


Common Types

Jack-O’-lantern – traditional orange, used for carving and decorating

Sugar (pie pumpkins for eating) – dull orange with sweet-tasting pulp

White – used for carving and decorating


Storage and Preparation

  • Store whole pumpkins unwashed in a cool, dry place away from sunlight for up to three months. Wash under cool running water and scrub with a clean brush before preparing.

  • Refrigerate prepared pumpkin chunks in a sealed container or plastic bag for up to one week.

  • For longer storage, cook and puree the pumpkin pulp. Then package in freezer bags or containers. Label and date. Freeze up to one year.

  • To prepare pumpkin seeds, separate from pulp, rinse under running water, and pat dry. Spread seeds out on a baking sheet and bake in the oven at 250° F for 45 to 60 minutes or until seeds are dry. Lightly toss with spices for a healthy snack. Store in a covered container in a cool, dry place.


Serving Ideas

  • Remove seeds and cut pumpkin flesh into 1½ to 2 inch chunks. Place in a covered dish and microwave for 8 minutes. Let cool, peel away the skin, and puree in a blender.
  • Use pureed pumpkin in soups, baking, and pudding.
  • Try it grilled, roasted, or steamed.
  • Canned pumpkin can be used as an ingredient substitution for oil, eggs, or butter in recipes.


Pumpkin Math

1 pound =

2 cups cooked pieces or 1½ cups mashed or pureed 16 ounce can =

2 cups 29 ounce can =

3 cups


Using Locally Grown Produce

For recipes featuring fruits and vegetables, visit our website nutrition/recipes/. To locate places to buy local produce, visit massachusetts-grownand-fresher.


Nutrition Facts

Serving size: 1 cup; Calories: 30; Carbohydrates: 8 g; Fiber: 0.6 g; Fat: 0.1 g; Saturated fat: 0.1 g; Sodium: 1 mg