Share:
Facebook Twitter Email

baking pumpkinYou will be amazed at the taste difference when you use real fresh pumpkin instead of canned in recipes. Your pies and baked goods will also be a more vibrant orange color. Grow or buy one of the many smaller varieties intended for baking. (see tips) Do not bake your hybridized jack o’ lantern pumpkin, because you will be disappointed by its dry stringy flesh and bland taste.

How to Bake a Whole Pumpkin:

  1. Wash and dry the whole pumpkin. Place your oven rack as low as it will go and remove the top rack(s). Place on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 350 degrees until fork-tender. Times vary depending on the size of your pumpkin, but an hour is average.
  2. Cut in half. Compost the seeds and stringy pulp. Scoop out the cooked flesh into a bowl and compost the skin. Break up any big chunks with a fork or potato masher.
  3. Place the cooked pumpkin flesh in the center of large piece of cheesecloth that has been folded in half. Twist the ends of the cheesecloth around the pumpkin and squeeze to drain any liquid out. You will probably need to do this in batches.
  4. If not using immediately, store in the fridge up to 5 days.  If freezing or canning the pumpkin, puree it first so it is ready to use.

How to Bake or Steam Pumpkin and Save Seeds:

  1. Wash and dry the whole pumpkin. Carefully cut in half with a large sharp knife on a stable surface. Scoop out the seeds and pulp and set aside in a bowl.
  2. If baking, place the two halves face-down on a rimmed cookie sheet in 1/2″ of water. Or bake face up on a rimmed cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and coat the inside of the pumpkin halves with a little canola oil. Bake 350-375 until the halves are fork tender.
  3. If steaming, cut the halves into chunks that will fit in a large steamer pot. Steam over gently boiling water until fork tender.
  4. While the pumpkin cooks, separate the seeds from the stringy pulp by using a squeezing motion to “milk the seeds out.” Rinse them in a colander and spread them out on a clean towel to dry. Dry the seeds completely to save for replanting or roast them in an oiled skillet or in the oven and serve with salt.
  5. Scoop out the cooked flesh into a bowl and compost the skin. Break up any big chunks with a fork or potato masher.
  6. Place the cooked pumpkin flesh in the center of large piece of cheesecloth that has been folded in half. Twist the ends of the cheesecloth around the pumpkin and squeeze to drain any liquid out. You will probably need to do this in batches.
  7. If not using immediately, store in the fridge up to 5 days.  If freezing or canning the pumpkin, puree it first so it is ready to use.

Tips

  • Good varieties to use for baking are baby bear, amish pie, sugar pie (the best!), cinderella, fariytale, and cushaw.
  • Bad Varieties: Don’t use large sized or carving pumpkins that will have an un-sweet, dry, stringy flesh.
  • Pumpkin Replacements: Butternut, hubbard, and pink banana squashes are some possible pumpkin replacements. Follow the same directions to cook and prepare the squash. See Winter Squash Varieties for more details about pumpkin substitutes and tips.
  • Steaming pumpkin is a good alternative to baking. To steam cook your pumpkin, cut it in half, scoop out the seeds, cut into smaller chunks that will fit in your steamer, and steam until tender. Proceed with the recipe.
  • Pureeing pumpkin works best with an immersion/handheld blender or in batches in a large food processor.
  • Pumpkin Seeds: If you want to make roasted pumpkin seeds too, you have to remove them before baking. Carefully cut the pumpkin in a half, scoop out seeds and strings. Place the two halves of the pumpkin face down on a rimmed baking sheet with 1/2 inch of water and bake or cut up the halves into smaller chunks and steam them until tender.
  • For great info about pumpkin varieties, see www.allaboutpumpkins.com/varieties.html.
Share:
Facebook Twitter Email