Cooking with Pumpkin

While a great many pumpkins have been carved into jack o’lanterns for this evening’s trick or treating, many still remain intact. It is easy to forget that these squash are edible, and a great way to engage children in cooking after the holiday.

At Shelburne Farms, we expose kids to hands-on, place-based experiences to explore where our food comes from and how it’s made. And, as kids become more familiar with the origins of their food and try new tastes, they’re more likely to carry an open mindset and good habits into adulthood. We invited our preschool campers, the Adventures group, to use up those remaining pumpkins by cooking them into delicious, healthy treats in the outdoor classroom. Here are a few of their favorite recipes for both indoor and outdoor cooking:

*For more outdoor and food related activities for preschoolers, check out Cultivating Joy and Wonder, available for purchase and free download, including pumpkin-inspired activities and life cycle cards.

Cooked Pumpkin Puree

Prep time: 10 minutes | Cooking time: 45–60 minutes


  • 1-2 small pumpkins (pie or sugar pumpkins are best, but you can give any kind a try!)
  • Olive oil


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Cut pumpkins in half and scrape out seeds and pulp (reserve seeds). Coat halves with olive oil and place them face down on a sheet pan. Roast for 45-60 minutes, until soft.
  3. Once cooled, scrape flesh from the skin. Puree flesh in a food processor until smooth.

Pumpkin Pancakes

Prep time: 15 minutes | Cooking time: 15–20 minutes


  • 2C flour
  • 2T baking soda
  • 1t baking powder
  • ¼ C maple syrup (+ more for pouring on top!)
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ C milk
  • ½ C plain yogurt
  • ¾ - 1C pumpkin puree
  • 1T apple cider vinegar for extra fluffiness
  • Pinch of salt


  1. Sift and combine all dry ingredients. Beat eggs into milk, yogurt, maple syrup, and pumpkin puree. Gently stir into the dry ingredients to make a smooth batter (don’t worry about a few lumps). Add a little more milk if it’ss too thick.
  2. Heat a griddle or pan over medium-low heat (or campfire!). Liberally butter the pan and wait for it to melt. Once the foam on the butter has subsided, it is hot enough for cooking.
  3. Ladle batter onto the pan. Flip when the bottom of the pancake is golden and bubbles are forming on the top. Cook until golden on the second side.
  4. Serve with maple syrup.

Pumpkin Muffins

Prep time: 15 minutes | Cooking time: 18–22 minutes


  • 1 ½ C whole wheat flour
  • ¾C. honey or sugar
  • 1t baking powder
  • 1t baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 1t cinnamon
  • 1C cooked pumpkin
  • 2 large eggs lightly beaten
  • ½ C canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 C plain or vanilla yogurt or applesauce


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray muffin tins with cooking spray.
  2. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in large bowl. In a separate bowl whisk together pumpkin, eggs, oil, and yogurt. Combine wet and dry ingredients until just blended.
  3. Spoon batter into muffin tins until ¾ full. Bake for 18–22 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
  4. Transfer muffins to rack to cool.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Prep time: 20 minutes | Cooking time: 20–25 minutes


  • Pumpkin
  • 2T olive oil
  • Salt to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 275°F.
  2. Scoop the seeds out of a pumpkin. Remove as much of the pulp as possible.
  3. Rinse the seeds in a colander, then dry the seeds with a paper towel.
  4. Spread the seeds over a cookie sheet, sprinkle on the olive oil and add salt.
  5. Cook for 20–25 minutes. Check and stir often so they don’t burn.

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