One of the first signs of fall is the appearance of beautiful orange globes at the farmer's market or grocery store produce section – pumpkin.
And not just the large, jack-o-lantern pumpkins you put on your doorstep, but also sugar pumpkin!
We all have recipes that use pumpkin in its canned form, but have you ever tried roasting your own pumpkin? It's so easy you will wonder why you never have before! Fresh pumpkin adds more flavor (and nutrition) to your pies, muffins, and quick breads. It also makes for a great baby food.
Try this easy method for roasting your own sugar pumpkin. There’s even steps for toasting those pumpkin seeds so nothing goes to waste.
What You Need:
- 1 sugar pumpkin
What You Do:
- Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Rinse off the sugar pumpkin under running water.
- Using a large, sharp knife, cut the sugar pumpkin in half. DO NOT try to cut through the stem. That's hard. Make your job easier and turn the pumpkin on its side, cutting across the middle. Or as I tell my kids, "across the equator."
- Scoop out the seeds and fibers from the center cavity into a bowl. Set these aside for toasting later.
- Place the pumpkin halves cut-side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (this makes clean up a breeze).
- Transfer your pumpkin to the center rack of your oven and bake for one hour.
- Remove from oven and let cool until you can handle it safely and comfortably.
- Scoop out the pumpkin, or, just peel away the skin. It should peel right off.
- Your pumpkin is now ready to use in any of your favorite pumpkin recipes! Simply replace the same amount of canned pumpkin for this yummy freshly roasted pumpkin. Puree your pumpkin with an immersion blender for a smoother consistency in pumpkin pie or baby food.
Your pumpkin will keep in the refrigerator for several days in a tightly sealed container. One sugar pumpkin yields 3-4 cups of pumpkin, enough for a pie and a double batch of muffins!
Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
Add water to the bowl containing your scooped out seeds. Why water? Because the seeds float to the top, and the bits of pumpkin fibers sink to the bottom. This makes it easy to separate them! Many of the seeds will be attached to the pumpkin fibers. Rub the fibers off the seeds with your fingers.
Once separated, use a slotted spoon (or colander) to transfer the seeds to a paper towel before putting them on the cookie sheet. Just scoop the seeds off the surface of the water; don't dig into all those bits you just removed.
After you blot them dry on the paper towels, place the seeds on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Season the seeds with your favorite pumpkin spices. You can use a pre-made pumpkin pie mix, or try your own. I like cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves. We just do sea salt.
Place the seeds on the center rack in the oven, and bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes. The time will vary depending on how wet they are. You can stir them up halfway through if you like. Some people boil the seeds for extra crispiness. Some say this doesn't work. I've always just baked them directly on the sheet.
When they are golden and dry, take them out and let them cool.