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How To Bake A Pumpkin

>4 January 2011
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how to bake a pumpkin

My mother-in-law gave me this beautiful pie pumpkin back in the Fall and I just got around to cooking and pureeing it. That’s what I love about pumpkins. As long as you keep them dry and somewhat cool, they’ll last for several months before going bad.

Any time I am able to get my hands on a pie pumpkin, I puree it to freeze for future pumpkin breads. The first time I was ever given a whole pumpkin though, I had no idea what to do with it. It took a google search and a couple of articles before I gathered the courage to cook and process that first pumpkin!

It does takes a little time to cook, peel, and puree a whole pumpkin, but man is it worth it.

Before you begin, you wanna make sure that you have a PIE pumpkin, and not a carving pumpkin. Pie pumpkins are usually lighter colored, and smaller in size. You can cook other pumpkins, but these in particular make the best pies and quick breads.

Here’s how to bake a pumpkin:

Step 1: Cut the pumpkin in half. Easier said than done if you have dull knives like I do, but you’ll get it!

Step 2: Scoop out all of the seeds and stringy stuff. If you want to go through the trouble, you can wash the seeds off and bake them with some seasonings for a nice treat!

Step 3: Fill a pan with 1/2″ water, and put the pumpkin face down into it. This will help keep the flesh moist.

Step 4: Bake the pumpkin at 450* for 45 min to an hour, until you can pierce the skin easily with a knife.

Step 5: Allow the pumpkin to cool, then peel the skin. I like to cut the pumpkin in strips about 1″ wide, and use a knife slipped under the skin to quickly peel it.

Step 6: Cut the pumpkin into pieces and drop them into a blender. If it won’t blend easily, add about 1 Tbsp of the water from the pan to the blender.

Step 7: Puree until smooth.

Step 8: Fill freezer bags with the puree for future use. I freeze 2 cups at a time, ’cause my favorite Pumpkin Spice Bread recipe calls for 2 cups of fresh pumpkin puree. Push out all of the air from the bag before sealing, and don’t forget to date and label it.

Notes: The reason for freezing pumpkin puree instead of canning it is because The National Center for Home Food Preservation has put out a warning stating that it is not safe to can home-made pumpkin puree or pumpkin pie filling. It is safe to can pumpkin in cubes, but if you want it already pureed you’ll need to freeze it if you want to be safe.

Once you have your pureed pumpkin, you might try canning pumpkin bread!

Now that you know how to bake a pumpkin, what are you going to make with it?

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  • meghan said:

    I love to bake pumpkins whole in the oven. I just knock off the stem, Poke a hole or two in it so it can vent, put the oven on 400 and let it go until it is easily pierced with a fork. That way it stays super duper moist. I do the same thing with butternut squash or any squash for that matter.

    Your punkin is beautiful!

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:


    I didn’t know you could put the whole thing in there! Guess it depends on how big it is, but that’s great to know :)

  • DramaMama said:

    I saw this and had to add 2 things – Meghan already beat me to one! I put a whole pumpkin in, stem and all. It’s a little harder in my opinion to scrape the seeds out after since it’s so soft, but it sure beats trying to cut them open! However, on that note, my hubby was willing to use a mitre saw on my pumpkins! When I wanted to do a bunch of them at the same time, he just went down to the basement, fired it up and came back quickly w/them all halved and ready to go! I was surprised – he promised he washed the blade first =) I now have a photo or 2 of him ‘sawing’ pumpkins open, wearing goggles and all!

  • Joy said:

    We go through a LOT of pumpkin in this house – the kids scarf up the muffins as soon as I can make them. My recipe only calls for a half-cup of puree (for six muffins), and I found that I could easily freeze the puree in half-cup lumps by measuring it into the muffin tin and freezing overnight. Come morning, pop them out and into a freezer bag. An ice-cube tray would hold about 2 tablespoons – perfect for stirring into oatmeal or yogurt.

  • kim said:

    Hi, I have been making my own pumpkin puree for about 30 years now. I never have put water in the pan the pumpkins have plenty of water in them already. I also do use whatever pumpkins I can get my hands on ( free ones ) and usually they are the carving type. I dont see much differnece in the taste altho they are a bit more stringy and need a bit more time in the processor. Also I always have washed my seeds, however this year I read an article saying NOT to do this since it washes away nutrients and vitamins. So I just squeezed the seeds out of the pulpy part and baked as usual. I must say they taste so much better! Thanks for all your information and tips you share.

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