- Buying pumpkin
Buy one small pumpkin or one wedge from the local market, as per your requirement. Make sure that the pumpkin is just ripe—firm on the outside and gives a little when you press the flesh on the inside; it should definitely not be squishy. Another way to tell that your pumpkin is ripe is by looking at the colour—the deeper the colour, the riper the fruit.
- Cleaning and readying the pumpkin
Wash the pumpkin. Scoop out the seeds from the inside. You can wash, dry and bake these seeds separately as a munchy for you; not for your baby. Separate the flesh of the pumpkin from the skin. While doing so, avoid the less ripe portion that’s closest to the skin. Next, cut up the cleaned out flesh into pieces or cubes.
- Cooking the pumpkin
You can either steam the pumpkin pieces (about 20 mins or until you can easily mash them with your finger), cook them in a cooker (for 1 whistle) or boil them in a few tablespoons of water (about 15 mins or until they’re soft to touch and you can easily mash them with your finger). Steaming preserves the most nutrients. However, boiling without discarding the water is also a good way to keep the nutrients in.
Always run cold water over the pieces after cooking to prevent them from cooking further.
- Pureeing the pumpkin
Once cool, mash the pumpkin pieces with a masher or blend them in a blender for a smoother puree. The smooth puree is better for smaller babies, while babies who are 10 months old or older prefer a slightly chunkier mash.
- Eating pumpkin puree
Feed your baby the mash or the puree directly. You can also combine it with other vegetables, cereal or khichdi (for older babies).
6. Storing pumpkin puree
Store the remaining pumpkin puree in freeze trays or jars. Don’t forget to leave a little room at the top of the freeze jar since most foods will expand a little when frozen.