Hey happy Sunday to everyone! My weekend has just flown by, I spent some very productive time in the kitchen, did a little fall wardrobe shopping, and went to dinner with friends! I had quite a few pumpkin recipes in mind I wanted to try and remembered I bought 2 Sugar Pie pumpkins last weekend, so I decided this would be the weekend I made my own pumpkin puree! I learned a few things along the way that I thought I would share with you. If you’ve ever tried this I’m sure you were like me and within 1.2 seconds of trying to cut into the pumpkin you realized you were going to chop off your finger if you continue trying to force a knife in the pumpkin skin. Just saying! Who knew pumpkins were so tough!
I’ve made my share of roasted squash this year, butternut, kabocha (omg so good), acorn and spaghetti. So I’ve mastered my “favorite” way to cut into each of these guys. What I’ve learned is that sometimes you have to treat squash like potatoes. Pierce a few holes and let it soften in the oven before trying to cut all the way though the skin.The skin is so much more forgiving to my knife wielding skills.
Yesterday was no different. I could not get my knife through the pumpkin skin. Dave was a bit worried and said “get a smaller knife”! Never one to listen, I threw the entire thing in the oven 🙂
I was worried removing the seeds from the partly roasted pumpkin would be difficult, but they were pretty easy to extract. Luckily, removing the seeds was not anywhere near as traumatic as I remembered from carving big pumpkins. Maybe it’s because I didn’t have to stick my entire arm in the pumpkin up to my elbow to get the seeds out? I don’t know, but this was no anywhere near as traumatic. The seeds break away from the membrane pretty easily, so it really didn’t take much effort to get them in roasting condition.
Fun fact, I’ve never roasted pumpkin seeds before (gasp)! So everything was fly by the seat of my pants yesterday. I have to say I’m pretty impressed with myself 🙂
Roasting a Pumpkin
So here are the steps for roasting your own pumpkin:
1) Buy sugar pie pumpkins. These are the pumpkins you want to make into puree. They are sweet (much sweeter than pumpkin puree) and they are small enough to be managed in the oven. I bought mine at the local grocery store for $2 each.
2) Wash the outside of your pumpkin before roasting. Yes this is a step. These guys grow on the ground and your knife cuts through from the outside skin through to the meat of the pumpkin.
3) Move the rack in your oven down so that both of the racks are one the tow lowest levels.
4) Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place roasting pumpkins on a foil lined baking sheet that has sides or a large roasting dish and put in the oven. After oven reaches 400 degrees, let pumpkins sit in the heat for about 10 minutes.
5) Remove pumpkins from the oven and allow to sit on the counter for 5 minutes before attempting to handle.
6) Using a large cutting board and a sharp knife, place the pumpkin flat side down and pierce into the top moving down the pumpkin (from top to bottom). Keep your free hand holding the pumpkin at the top as your move down the pumpkin from top to the bottom. When you are at the bottom, turn the pumpkin around and do the same thing on the other side so that both sides are cut through. Once the pumpkin has been cut through, you just have to tug a little to get the stalk to break and you will have two halves to work with.
NOTE: If you don’t think your pumpkin skin has softened enough to cut through, you can continue to roast it in the oven for 10 more minutes. Just know that once you cut into the pumpkin, the pumpkin might start releasing water, so when you pull it out of the oven be CAREFUL!
7) Scoop out the seeds. Move the seeds to a bowl or large cup. Try to keep the membrane out if possible,(although not necessary, as you can remove it in a later step if you are pressed for time).
8) Spray the foil lined baking sheet with non-stick spray and place pumpkins flesh side down and roast 20-30 additional minutes until the pumpkins are tender to the touch.
9) While pumpkin is roasting, fill the bowl or cup with water and squeeze the seeds through your hands, removing any additional membrane from the seeds.
10) Drain the pumpkin seeds using a colander and spread the seeds on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Spread into as thin of a layer as possible and add to the oven under the roasting pumpkins.
11) Roast pumpkin seeds for 15 minutes until fragrant. Stay close to the kitchen after about 10 minutes.
12) Pull pumpkin seeds out of the oven and add 1/2 tsp coconut oil (or oil of your choice) and 1/2 tsp -1 tsp salt to seeds (if using 2 pumpkins, you will need to half this if you only roast 1 at a time). Mix until salt is evenly distributed. Taste seeds once slightly cooled an make sure they are done. I had to throw mine back in for 2-3 minutes after covering with salt and coconut oil. Stay close by. If your seeds start popping, they are done and should be removed immediately. You will need to open to oven door slightly to release the hot air from the oven to get the seeds to stop popping if this happens. Remove seeds and cool on counter 5-10 minutes before adding to a air tight container. Try not to eat them all at once 🙂
13) Once pumpkins are tender to the touch, carefully remove from the oven and allow to cool on the counter 10 minutes before scooping out into a large bowl (with a lid). You can place pumpkin in the refrigerator after removing it from the skin or add in small batches to the food processor to smooth into pumpkin puree.
Another NOTE! That squash and pumpkins can grow some funky pathogens if allowed to sit at room temperature for long get this into the fridge quickly after prepared to your liking.
I didn’t puree my pumpkin because I will be baking with it mostly and the pumpkin will break down enough for these recipes. If you are planning on making pumpkin spice lattes or need the pumpkin for a frosting, then be sure to puree it either before refrigerating or before adding it to the recipe.
The best part about roasting your own pumpkin is that for the same cost of a can of pumpkin puree, you get almost double the pumpkin puree and roasted pumpkin seeds! Also I didn’t know this but apparently what is your can of pumpkin puree may not be just pumpkin! So, even though the ingredient label may read 100% pumpkin, there may also be squash mixed in, since they fall under the same genus. Just a fun fact 🙂
Pumpkin Link Love & Recipes
Also, you can freeze your pumpkin puree for up to a month in ziplock freezer bags. But you won’t need to free it when you have these recipes you can make:
Vegan Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls via the Minimalist Baker
Better-for-you Pumpkin Bread via A Savory Feast
Simple Cinnamon Pumpkin Pancakes Pinch of Yum
Pumpkin Gingerbread Protein Pancakes – The Big Man’s World
Pumpkin Snickerdoodles via Cooking Classy
Slow Cooker Gingerbread Pumpkin Lattes via Kitchen Treaty
Pumpkin Maple Creme Brulee via blahnikbaker
Pumpkin Bagels via The Pajama Chef