The only pumpkin carving that I’ve done the past couple of years has been to get a pumpkin ready for roasting. This also works for pumpkins that have been carved for a jack-o-lantern but only if they don’t sit out too long. Around our house we take the easy route and just put the whole pumpkin out for Halloween and it will keep for a few weeks until I’m ready to bake it.
This year I chose for my pumpkin a gigantic donut shaped one. The husband’s is a much more manageable, round, classic orange pumpkin. However, since I got the most beautiful reddish orange flesh from an unusual pumpkin (musquee de provence) I went with unusual again. Now I know I said I was growing my own musquee de provence pumpkins this year here, here, here, and here but after our vacation when I returned home both the small green pumpkins had fallen off the plant. I don’t know why. Maybe it got too cold? I’m pretty bummed about it. So I’ve stopped banking on my plant which would have been late for Thanksgiving anyhow and I’m going with the store bought kind. First, chop the pumpkin in half. Then remove the gunk in the middle with a big spoon.
Reserve the gunk and seeds in a bowl. I will show you how to make pumpkin seeds in another post. I don’t know why you wouldn’t roast pumpkin seeds. Maybe if you hate happiness and all things good? They’re amazing right out of the oven.
Clean that bad boy out. No need to be super duper anal about getting all the stringiness out of there since eventually this gets pureed or chopped up and it’s not like it tastes different than pumpkin flesh.
If you don’t have a gargantuan pumpkin, you would simply put the pumpkin half cut side down on a foil lined baking sheet. If you have one that’s massive like I do and one half doesn’t fit on one sheet, then just put a quarter on each of the sheets. This isn’t the greatest because it doesn’t bake especially evenly (the part on the sheet gets cooked faster than the top part) but it will get the job done. And I will tell you how to still utilize unevenly cooked pumpkin if you keep reading.
Put them in the oven and depending on the size of your pumpkin, it will take about 45 minutes or more. These guys took about 1 hour and 20 minutes. When a fork goes easily into the pumpkin then it’s done. Or when it looks sad and saggy. Again, mine didn’t cook evenly so the top part is not as done as the bottom part.
I missed a picture here but imagine the pumpkin pieces without skin. Once the pumpkin cools enough so that it can be handled I took a small pairing knife to it to remove the skin. Sometimes you can just pull the skin off but since parts of my pumpkin were a little raw the knife was easier to just slide under the skin.
Once the skin is removed you dice it up. I just used my pairing knife to cut it into big chunks. The parts that are a little crunchy still get cut into chunks and bagged as chunks so they can be used for any recipes that call for chunks of pumpkin (they often call for raw pumpkin in recipes which seems weird to me) that need to be cooked. For example, I used my pumpkin chunks for pumpkin and kale curry because the pumpkin gets cooked while simmering the curry. The chunks that are more soft get to go into the blender and become pumpkin puree. This is for pies, cocktails, pumpkin bread, pumpkin scones, pumpkin bread pudding, etc.
Just half of my big pumpkin made three bags of about 2+ cups each of chunks and just over five cups of pumpkin puree. Once completely cooled this all goes into the freezer and stays there until I need to defrost it for cooking.
Do you make your own pumpkin puree or do you use the canned stuff for baking needs? Have you ever made a recipe that calls for chunks of pumpkin, and if so where do you get them if you don’t make them yourself?