Friday, October 29, 2010

How To Cook Your Halloween Pumpkin

So, you've carefully cut out 2 eyes, a nose, and a mouth.  Your jack-o-lantern is looking pretty cute - that is until the next day when it starts to rot onto your front steps. 

I always hate to throw out a perfectly good pumpkin - even if it's just into the compost pile.

Several years back I came up with a solution. 

As you can see, my little preschool class is pretty good at making jack-o-lanterns.

After we carved our little snaggle-toothed friend, I toted him home to cook him and eat him (Ewww...)

First, I cut it in half.

Then, I cut each half into even portions.

  If you make your jack-o-lantern to hold a candle, you'll have already scooped out the goop and seeds.  If any goop is left after cutting it open just scrape across the surface with a knife and it will come clean.  Hang onto your seeds.  I'll explain how to roast them later.

Place all of your pieces onto baking sheets with sides.  This is very important because as the pumpkin cooks it will create liquid and you don't want it to leak into your oven. 

Cover with foil and bake in a 350 degree oven for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.  Every pumpkin is different, so check on it after an hour to see when it is done.  You want to be able to smoosh it with a fork.
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Not all pumpkin will be orange when it is done.  This particular one is a dark yellow.

Let it cool completely.  I let mine cool overnight and it did fine.  Then, carefully slide a knife between the soft pulp and the rind.  The pulp will come off easily.  If you want to get every little bit you can scrape a large spatula across the rind and more will come off.

Toss the pulp into a blender or food processor.  Blend until no chunks remain.  If you cooked it thoroughly, it will only take 5 seconds.

Measure out your pulp into 2 cup or 1 cup portions, depending on what kind of recipes you'll be using.

I freeze my pumpkin pulp in 2 cup measurements in ziploc bags.

My pumpkin made 10 cups of pulp (5 bags).  I used one bag to make a yummy pumpkin cake.  Jo-Lynne provided a great healthy recipe.

While the pumpkin is cooking, I carefully wash my seeds in a colander.  I discard the strings and extra pulp.

Then I place the seeds in a baking dish (I like my stoneware), drizzle with EVOO and a pinch of salt.  I let the pan sit on the stove until the pumpkin pulp is cooked.  When I pull out the pumpkin, I pop in the seeds.  Let them roast at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until they are brown. 

We like these as a yummy snack.


  1. I think I will be doing this this year. :] Can you use the pulp to make pumpkin pie? I'm new to all of this stuff, can you tell?

  2. Yes, Tiffany, you can use the pumpkin puree just like you would use a can of pumpkin (but it's not the same as "pumpkin pie filling"). I'll email you a pumpkin pie recipe that will work.


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