How to Bake a Fresh Pumpkin (for Pie, Etc)

753,476

97

49

About: I'm a metalsmith and jeweler and I run my own small jewelry business. I work primarily in sterling silver, copper, brass, enamel, and occasionally beads, semi-precious stones, and found objects. I'm also a ...
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

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.

Step 2: Baking and Waiting

Next you'll actually bake the pumpkin halves.

Line a large pan with the tin-foil. This is kinda optional, but it saves a lot of time in clean up since the juices will run out and burn during baking. Because of the juices, you'll want to use a pan that has edges to it, not just a flat cookie sheet.

Lay your pumpkin halves face down on the pan.

Set the oven to around 350 degrees, or around 180 Celsius.

Stick the pan in the oven, and then wait for about an hour and a half to 2 hours. The actual time will vary depending on how thick your pumpkins are and how hot your oven actually gets.

You can check the pumpkins every so often to see if they are tender by sticking a fork in them.
Once they're nice and soft that means they're done.

Step 3: Cooling and Scraping

Once your baked pumpkin halves have cooled enough to hold, grab one and use a spoon to start scraping the soft pumpkin flesh off the skin and into a bowl.

Don't worry about the burned parts of the skin, but if there are any burned parts of pumpkin flesh, you may not want to include those.

Throw away the leftover skins, or compost them, or whatever.

Step 4: Mash It

In the final step of preparing your pumpkin, you're going to mash it.

Grab that potato masher and give it some experience with a new type of produce.
Mash to your heart's content. Or until your arms get tired.

And that's it. Now you have pumpkin that is ready to be used for making tasty pies and breads.

Usually, especially when making pies, I like to mix the pumpkin with the liquid ingredients and then blend the whole mixture to create an extra smooth pie filling.

Enjoy, and go make some tasty goodness.

Halloween Contest

Finalist in the
Halloween Contest

Share

Recommendations

  • Optics Contest

    Optics Contest
  • Big and Small Contest

    Big and Small Contest
  • Plastics Contest

    Plastics Contest

49 Discussions

0
None
MaurineW1

11 months ago

Baked and 'squashed' and make pumpkin bars.....they are super moist and delicious! Merry Christmas;-)

0
None
dsipsy

2 years ago

So i cut off the outside shell/skin when the pumpkin cools?

my grandpa used to put a little molasses in his pumpkin , I do now too, gives a great flavor, and also gives pies a little darker color. ( I don't use a specific amount, I just add till I think it " looks " right. I add when I blend everything up.

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.

0
None
DianeH21ksexton1

Reply 2 years ago

with larger Jack -O-Lantern Pumpkins, Baking helps keep it from getting watery and actually produced a nice creamy meat for me. But I imagine the smaller ones would be tastier to some degree.

0
None
ksexton1DianeH21

Reply 2 years ago

I've tried baking several ways, even pressure cooking. Every large jack-o-lantern pumpkin I've tried comes out poorly. The worst have almost yellow flesh closer to a spaghetti squash. All of them were excessively watery.

An actual pie or sugar pumpkin, or one of the other squash will work better. The commercial canned type is cooked down to a certain moisture content, with special equipment to keep it from burning.

0
None
BabyC2

2 years ago

grest recipe. I had a good harvest, and followed the directions and now I have pumpkin for pie, bread etc, thru the winter. Thanks

0
None
Donna65stars

3 years ago

crap I thought a pumpkin was a pumpkin. Is that why it was like spaghetti squash? I thought I just needed to cook it some more

0
None
peg.morin.9

3 years ago on Step 2

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
0
None
peg.morin.9

3 years ago on Step 2

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
0
None
peg.morin.9

3 years ago on Step 2

(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!

0
None
grooverjamesr

4 years ago on Step 4

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.

3 replies
0
None
LindaD5grooverjamesr

Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

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. :)

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.