The "Green Pumpkin Award": or, How to Cook Your Pumpkin

At my friend's pumpkin-carving party, I got the Green Pumpkin Award, because, my friend said, I would do something "green" with my pumpkin. She was right!

Usually, I cook our jack-o-lanterns. We carve them very close to Halloween so they don't have the opportunity to go bad. William and I went looking for some pumpkins to carve this year, but didn't have any luck, so we picked up a few pie pumpkins to cook. He seemed more concerned with eventually getting some pie than with carving a jack-o-lantern, thankfully. In addition to the two small pie pumpkins we bought, we had two small pumpkins from our visit to the "pumpkin patch" and, of course, my jack-o-lantern from my friend's party.

 To roast pumpkins, preheat your oven to 400, and line your ugly cookie sheets with foil.  Wash your pumpkins and use a brush to remove any stubborn mud or dirt. These are the pie pumpkins. They have a thinner skin than regular pumpkins. I cooked these for about 70 minutes. With these, checking for done-ness is like checking a baked potato...with a knife, the skin is crisp but the knife slides easily through and into the flesh.
If you let it cool 15 minutes or so, the skin will peel right off.

The peeled pumpkin. Cut this is half or thirds, scoop out and discard the seeds.

Here's my jack-o-lantern.  I scrubbed this thoroughly in the sink before cooking, inside and out. This guy had a super thick skin, and it took about 100 minutes. It also had a lot of water in it. To cut this you'll need a bigger knife with a serrated edge. cut it in half and let cool 20 minutes or so before you try to scoop it out of the skin.  See the bowls of pumpkin behind the jack-o-lantern?

The inside of ol' Jack after the seeds were removed. 
 My two other small pumpkins also had a very hard shell, and took about 90 minutes to cook. I had to use the heavy knife on those, too.

I put all of the pumpkin flesh into this big colander for a couple of hours so any remaining water in the pumpkin could drain off.

I used a fork to break the pumpkin into smaller pieces then filled ziplock bags with about a cup of the pumpkin each. I don't puree my pumpkin before freezing because I have a small food processor. I'd rather do it as I go, and for many dishes, having the pumpkin pureed isn't necessary. For my recipes, I thaw out a bag, puree it, then measure it out.

From my 4 small and one large pumpkin, I got 12 ziplocks (sandwich size?) of pumpkin, which will last about 7 mths. If I have pumpkin around, I use it! You can add it without detection to anything with red sauce: pasta, chili, soup, sloppy joes, bbq, etc. Pureed pumpkin can be added to mac and cheese, in limited amounts, and used in tons of baked goods.  Try using it in recipes that call for sweet potato or yams,  or winter squash.

Happy eating!


Leah said...

I've never baked a pumpkin before scooping out the middle. That sounds like a great idea... I will try that this week with some of my pumpkins! Thanks for sharing.

My kids are more interested in the pumpkin for its pie making ability than for carving jack-o-lanterns, too.

Nicole said...

I've got two pumpkins in the oven right now. I love not having to cut into it first, great idea! I wonder if that'd work for roasting squash, too. I'll have to try!

Jill and Mike said...

Before I try something new (like making my own pumpkin puree) I always check your blog first.


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