How to cook a sugar pumpkin

Pumpkin- How to Roast them Three Ways

October 9, 2014Katie

How to cook a sugar pumpkin

So, because I must try everything related to cooking, I purchased a sugar pumpkin this week and decided to use it in a savory recipe. Yes, most people use pumpkin to make pumpkin pie, but I MUCH prefer butternut squash and even acorn squash in savory recipes now that my horrible sweet tooth has gone away.

There are different pumpkins you can cook with, but the most common one used in baking and cooking is the sugar pumpkin.


Small sugar pumpkin

It’s given the name sugar pumpkin because it’s smaller, sweeter, and less stringy and grainy than their usual counterparts that you use to carve creepy faces in for Halloween.

They are usually about 6-8 inches in diameter and you should pick one that is firm with no bruises or soft spots and are a good bright orange (not yellow) in color.

Anyway a 4 pound pumpkin will yield about 1 ½ cups puree. A 6-8 pound pumpkin will usually yield about 2-3 cups of puree. Keep this in mind and if you’re subbing fresh puree out for canned pumpkin, cans usually run either in the 15 oz. smaller can or the larger, 29 oz. can. So:

One 15 oz. can = 1.875 cups or a little more than 1 ¾ cup.
One 29 oz. can = 3.625 cups or a little more than 3 ½ cups

Gad, that is the most math I’ve had to do in a long time. It just occurred to me that my math teacher was right when he said I’d need math.

Not really, I used an online converter. Take that Mr. Math Teacher from high school.

I seriously hated math. And chemistry.

SO MUCH!

I am going to show you how I peeled, cut up and roasted the pumpkin in three different ways.

First off and to keep from having to cut through the stem of the pumpkin, which is rather tough, slice off the end of the pumpkin as closely as you can get to the stem.

Cut stem off pumpkin

Now you have a flat surface to flip the pumpkin upside down on because remember what I always say… when it comes to knives and cutting, flat surfaces are safe and round surfaces require Band-Aids.

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Now that you’ve flipped the pumpkin upside down on it’s flat surface, slice it in half. You may need to first stick the knife into the pumpkin a bit and then slowly push in a rocking motion to widen the cut until you can get right through it.

Cut pumpkin

Now your pumpkin is cut in half and you’ll need a large spoon to start scraping out the seeds and stringy pulp. Use some muscle as you have to scrape a bit hard to get the stringy stuff.

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I believe this was a first for me. This pumpkin had seeds that were sprouting. It freaked me out just a little bit because at first I thought there were some kind of creepy pumpkin worms or something.

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Hey, I’ve had a giant spider building webs over my herb garden, a bird in my living room and this week, a strange smell has hit us in the entryway that for the life of us we cannot figure out where it’s coming from.

Worms in a pumpkin would not be weird in my current world.

Do NOT throw away this mess as we’re going to use the seeds tomorrow to make some yummy roasted spiced pumpkin seeds!

Keep scooping unil you get all of the stringy matter out. I hate stringy matter and get every last bit out if I can. You’ll know when your far enough because the pumpkin flesh will be a tad bit lighter than the darker stringy stuff, and you won’t see strings anymore.

Well that just makes sense doesn’t it?

Toss all the inside matter, including the seeds into a large bowl of water and swish it all around until the seeds float to the top and separate from the stringy mushy stuff, which will sink. Scoop the seeds out with a strainer and let them drain.

Pumpkin seeds

Now, here are three methods of cooking pumpkin in different ways. Each will start after the pumpkin has been de-stemmed, sliced in half, and the seeds and gunk have been removed.

FOR METHOD #1 – ROASTING THE PUMPKIN WHOLE:
This is the simplest method for getting pureed or mashed pumpkin.

Just flip the pumpkin over onto a baking sheet (I line mine with parchment), cover it with foil and bake it in a 375º for about one to one and one-half hours or until the skin begins to crumple a little and you can stick a fork it in easily.

How to roast a whole oumpkin

Flip the pumpkin over, let it cool a bit and then just scoop out the soft flesh. Puree it in a food processor or blender until is very smooth. If it’s too thick, you can thin it out with a tablespoon of water or two.For really smooth soups or custards, press it through a sieve to remove any fibers.

FOR METHOD #2 – ROASTING THE PUMPKIN IN SLICES

Slice each half into 1 inch wedges.

Pumpkin wedges

Roast in a 375º for 20-30 minutes or until browning slightly and fork inserted goes into easily.

Roasting pumpkin wedges

Now you can easily slice along the skin and then cube them or whatever you want to do with them.

FOR METHOD #3 – ROASTING THE PUMPKIN IN CUBES

This is my favorite method for roasting butternut squash. I love to spray or drizzle them with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and get them carmelized and toasty and serve them as a simple side dish.

Set one half of the pumpkin back up on the flat side where you cut the stem off and begin to peel it just like you would a potato.peel until all the outer skin is gone, and then repeat with the other half of pumpkin.

Peel sugar pumpkin

Now take each half of the pumpkin, and cut it into one inch wedges just like Method #2 (only this time you’ve skinned the pumpkin).

Now rotate each wedge and cut them into nice little cubes. You can add olive oil, salt and pepper and then roast them in the oven at 375º for about 15-20 minutes.

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So there you have it.

Three different ways to roast a pumpkin. tay tuned for the new recipe coming soon – Roasted and Spiced Pumpkin Seeds and for another recipe, I’m using those pumpkin roasted cubes I made to make a Bacon Pumpkin Quiche for Thursday!

Stay tuned friends and have a most blessed day!!!

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