Instructables

How to Bake a Fresh Pumpkin (for pie, etc)

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This instructable will show you how to prepare and bake a fresh pumpkin for use in pies, breads, and other delectable treats. I'll add a separate instructable for how to actually make the pie and bread later, this is just preparing the pumpkin.

For this instructable, you'll want to use pie pumpkins. These are smaller and smoother than jack-o-lantern pumpkins and taste much better. Pie pumpkins are closer to the size of a small melon, like a honeydew.

2 pumpkins will provide enough baked pumpkin for a pie and a couple of small loaves of bread.

You'll also need:
  • A sharp, non-serrated knife
  • a cutting board
  • some tin-foil
  • a large pan for baking
 
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Step 1: Cleaning the Pumpkin

First, you'll want to wash any dirt off the outside of your pumpkin. No one wants to eat dirt.

Then, cut the pumpkin in half. I find it's easier to cut in a square around the stem and that weird spot on the base, since they're pretty woody areas. It's best to use a non-serrated knife for this, and to be careful. Make a lot of small short cuts rather than trying to go all the way through in one shot.

Once your cuts go all the way around, pry the pumpkin apart. If your cuts are clean enough, this will be easy, but if they're not, you may want to try putting one half on the counter, and leaning on the other half to let your weight do the work for you.

After you've separated your pumpkin halves, use a spoon to scrape out all the seeds and stringy stuff. I usually just throw all this away, but you can save the seeds for toasting if you like.

When you're done, you'll have two nice clean pumpkin halves. Making them this clean before baking saves some trouble after they've been baked and are soft and mushy.
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Did I miss something? It says "How to BAKE" etc. Nothing about oven temperature, baking time, etc, which is what I came here for.

Yeah, you missed it. There was text and photos. 350° for 90-120 min.

Woops! I found the "View all Steps" button. Makes a huge difference.

Beautiful seeds! Bake the rinds with butter, salt, brown sugar. Feed the worm farm the core top and bottom and stringy stuff (they'll be in heaven)! Plant the seeds in small brown feeder cups in the indoors pre-spring tip past the last frost and them put them in the fresh tilled bed, and you'll have your own family pumpkin farm next October. For winter planting I have discovered leeks, scallions, and artichokes are quite hardy plants through this season! Small rectangle planter boxes are great for the leeks and scallion, little and big soldiers in a row! I am experimenting with the artichoke in a half-barrel, seems to like it, it's alive and well. If you have the room you should consider a bee hive and chicken coop yourself, Organic, self sustained, small farms, is the biggest and most important thing that humankind can be doing right now. Good luck to us all!

DSCF4019.JPG

Beautiful seeds! Bake the rinds with butter, salt, brown sugar. Feed the worm farm the core top and bottom and stringy stuff (they'll be in heaven)! Plant the seeds in small brown feeder cups in the indoors pre-spring tip past the last frost and them put them in the fresh tilled bed, and you'll have your own family pumpkin farm next October. For winter planting I have discovered leeks, scallions, and artichokes are quite hardy plants through this season! Small rectangle planter boxes are great for the leeks and scallion, little and big soldiers in a row! I am experimenting with the artichoke in a half-barrel, seems to like it, it's alive and well. If you have the room you should consider a bee hive and chicken coop yourself, Organic, self sustained, small farms, is the biggest and most important thing that humankind can be doing right now. Good luck to us all!

DSCF4019.JPG

(I have cut mine into 5 large chunks). DON'T THROW THE SEEDS AWAY! THAT'S SILLY, at the least. This is my Plan: I will plant the seeds just pre-spring in the house until the last frost and put them in the large raised bed. I have half wine barrels for tomatoes and peppers and artichoke inside the bed perimeter. The top and bottom core and orange string I have saved for the small worm farm I maintain (to my own delight) in our garage. I have big but quite modest plans for this next spring/summer. I am going to plant only melons and pumpkin in the large and deep organic raised bed (kitchen garden) 30 feet from my back kitchen door. This bed also houses two of three of my peach White Blood Peach Trees. I also hope to build a good size chicken cope and maintain 1 hive of bees. My neighbor Becky is allergic to bees so she has to sign off on this before I get me self a queen (which right now is the ordering time for the Queen Bee to be posted out to you come February.) I have 3 different types of Japanese Myrtle, a large trunked green Myrtle; near the kitchen sink window is the finer trunked red Myrtle; and lastly, an Upside-dowl bowl shaped Green Myrtle bush. Bees love these trees and in the summer they are in a steady hum state of activity that is an incredibly lovely summer sound. I have noticed a dramatic decline in this bee population over the past few years. I want to mitigate that with a hopefully GMO hive of my own. There are neighbors, one in particular, I mean that is obvious, and well cared for, who plant pot/Marijuana plants and I'm quite sure they are scripted. Anyway, I think my bees will like being over there too. My area is low mountain, Pine, Spruce, Oak, low count but some deer, hotter than hell summers and wet cold winters, only a little snow here but am surrounded by three dormant volcanic mountains, ( Shasta, Trinity Alps, Lassen) North of the Madre's on the Pacific Crest Trail. If you want to get of sense of this terrain in an excellent book i highly recommend Wild by Cheryl Strayed (And they just made it a movie with Reese Witherspoon, I can't wait to go see it!!!) peace out friends! Feel free to Facebook connect with me if you too are into gardening, survival prep, liberal spiritual thinker!

Though it seems like a great idea this is just another way of doing an otherwise useless task. When I was growing up, Mom would make pumpkin pie yearly and it came to the point 3 dozen pies at a time were being made. So, you need something like 2 large pumpkins, so we cut all the pumpkins into cubes, removed the outer shell in one slice per cube, easy, right?

Then we dropped all the cubes into a pressure cooker and add water and cook them for a short while, 30-45 minutes. Then mash the pumpkin and we were done.

Serves the same purpose but doesn't heat the whole house up or burn the outer parts of the pumpkin as you see in that one image.

grooverjamesr, everybody has their own favorite way to do it. Another person's method is not "useless" to them. Personally, since I don't have a pressure cooker, I prefer baking it. I love how it heats up the house. Your method is great for you. This one's gonna be great for me! Thank you soundinnovation for sharing it. :)

But you end up with really watery, less flavourful pumpkin...

Oh, I don't disagree, straining the pumpkin a bit helps. I would always take some mash and a cheesecloth but careful not to remove too much water.

ms match1 month ago

I have always put pumpkins in the pressure cooker ( my large 7 qt jar canner) for 5 min at 5 lb pressure, Just clean them out good, rinse and quarter. Sure beats baking for that length of time. When pressure drops to zero, remove pumpkins and scoop out meat and put in blender to purée, I make bags and bags to freeze.

Pressure cooking doesn't do much to remove excess water, which slow baking does. With baking, you end up with a creamier and more concentrated pumpkin flavour.

What a Great Idea!! I'll have to try your method when I cook my sugar pumpkin next week. Thanks for posting your method.

Once its been mashed can it be put in the freezer?

desiree.rankin, Yes it can be frozen. I prefer Foodsaver Vacuum but any vacuum seal or zip lock bag will work.

I leave the pumpkins whole and take a knife and make a slit on two sides of each pumpkin and place on cookie sheets in oven at 325 degrees . When tender, I cool in oven and then just peel off the skin (put the seeds in a bowl to later rinse and bake with a little oil and salt) and take the meat of pumpkin and puree in a food processor and freeze unused portion in plastic bags. I have 13 pumpkins baking in my oven right now.

DukeL1 month ago

all pumpkins are squashes, but not all squashes are pumpkins;

Squash is a botanic term, while pumpkin is a culinary term ☺

dxf2246 years ago
Is a pie pumpkin just a small immature pumpkin ?
soundinnovation (author)  dxf2246 years ago
I'm not sure exactly. I think they're more like a different strain of pumpkin that is bred to be smaller and taste better, where as a jack-o-lantern pumpkin is bred to be larger. Kinda like super big watermelons vs small seedless watermelons.

They are called sugar pumpkins and I bought mine at Trader Joe's. I've also bought them at local farm stands.

kwhitacre1 month ago

I bake my acorn squash and learned 40 years ago that if I bake it in the oven for about half an hour it isn't so hard to cut nor too soft. I hold it with a potholder, slice it, deseed it; turn it upside down (helps keep it moist) and continue baking. Thank you for reminding me how good fresh pumpkin can be.

after baking pumpkin, how can I get them dark like Libby's canned pumpkin?

From what I've read, the canned pumpkin you buy is actually butternut squash, It starts out darker, and is probably cooked to a temperature high enough to carmelize, or has color added. Hubbard squash, which is a blue skinned, deep orange fleshed squash, or pink banana squash are also good alternatives.

Be sure not to use jack o lantern pumpkins, they are a different species, have a lot more moisture, and are stringy almost like a spaghetti squash. You end up with yellow or even greenish watery grainy pulp even after blending, and grainy pie.

Nonnajaci1 month ago

Yummy! I think I remember something like this from way back in my childhood. Thank you so much for putting it out here.

bstorer1 month ago

Thanks for sharing. I bake all my winter squash the same way. Living in cold Montana, the heat from the oven is a welcome addition and our family loves the fragrance of baked pumpkins and squash.

what can you do with the inside of the pumpkin
The seeds can be seasoned and toasted. Just wash off the stringy bits and toss the seeds in a spoonful of oil and your seasoning of choice, similar to how you would prepare popcorn. Then, toast them in flat pan in the oven at about 325 degrees F for 5-15 minutes, stirring them every now and then until they look dry and slightly golden at the edges. You can eat them like sunflower seeds, peeling off the outer shell, or just eat the whole thing if you don't mind the woody texture.

I'm not sure about what you could do with the stringy stuff, other than use it for compost.

also, theres really no need to wash the stringy bits off. you can just throw the seeds & stringy bits onto a cookie sheet and bake. the stringy bits will wilt away... after a bit in the oven you can then take a lil salt and shake over the seeds and then toss seeds back into oven,

I love doing this, the seeds taste so good (I like to lightly salt them).
Pumpkin seeds also go well in nutroasts, if you don't mind sitting and shucking them
ruth19531 year ago
can you freeze the pumpkin after it has been cooked?

yes you can freeze the pumpkin mash in ziploc bags (quart size) and then lay them flat in your freezer (just dont put any heavy items on top of pumpkin mash till after they have frozen completely.) and they will last till your ready to use them next time,

Instead of mashing my baked pumpkin, I puree it in a blender. @meatwagons, it keeps in the fridge for about a week in a sealed container, but I vacuum seal it in my FoodSaver bags and freeze it. It then lasts for quite a while.

SydneyG12 months ago

Wait after the pumpkins have cooled and i start scraping.. am i scraping what's in the inside of the pumpkin or am i also getting the skin too? I'm really confused on this step.

soundinnovation (author)  SydneyG12 months ago

You are scraping the baked pumpkin flesh off of the skin. The skin itself is discarded.

meatwagons.3 months ago

About how long does this stay good for?

Very nice!
rosewood5134 years ago
Actually a pie pumpkin is a blue hubbard squash. That is what Sara Lee uses in her pumpkin pie. I read that on their site once. They have less water so it is easier to make the pies from it.
But i still like to use regualr pumpkins to eat and make seeds with.
tqwerty4 years ago
When I do this I cover the pumpkins with tinfoil as well as line the pan. That way, you don't get the uneven burnt skin which can result in burnt insides and burney taste. It tastes much better that way and more of the juices stay in seeing as it roasts and steams at the same time
tqwerty4 years ago
you can use the blender as well
Jayefuu4 years ago
This is great. Too many ibles just say "add pureed pumpkin", this should give people a clue how to do that if they don't want to just use stuff from a can. Nice work.
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