Chances are good, you have a few orange beauties on your front porch this month…
Did you know that even after being on display for weeks, certain pumpkins still are great for cooking? They are! As long as they don’t freeze, you can cook with pumpkins even after the Halloween and harvest festivities are over. I wanted to share with you what kinds of pumpkins are great for baking as well as give you a method of cooking pumpkins that is super easy.
I picked up the Cinderella pumpkin above at my local farmers market for $5.00. My pumpkin vendor wasn’t into making a ton of money on her punkins…she just wanted to unload them on happy customers. So I got a few. Cinderella pumpkins are short and squatty and look similar to a Cinderella carriage found in the cartoon. They have a stringy and seedy core, but a hearty meat on the inside that works great for baking. Other excellent pumpkins for baking include sugar and pie pumpkins (generally a smaller pumpkin). Your typical jack-o-lantern is NOT the best pumpkin to cook up. It’s just too stringy and watery to do you any good. Other types good for baking aren’t actually pumpkins at all…they fall in the squash category. Nice, huh? These include butternuts, hubbards, turbans, buttercup and winter squash.
So, here’s the easy peasy way to cook a pumpkin…and this way your frugal little heart will be pleased to NOT throw the pumpkins in the trash or shoot them out of a cannon at the end of the season.
How to Cook a Pumpkin
- Thoroughly scrub the skin of your pumpkin. Use a brush if you need to.
- Using a paring knife, poke a few holes into the skin. Be careful not to cut yourself!
- Place in a baking pan, with some of the poked holes facing up.
- Bake at 325 – 375 degrees until done. The amount of time depends on the size, but the pumpkin will begin to slump and be soft when it’s done. A larger cinderella pumpkin could take more than 90 minutes.
- Once baked, peel the pumpkin completely. Remove the seeds and strings.
- Mash or puree pumpkin and use in any recipe.
That’s it! A few things to note:
- Home-baked mashed or pureed pumpkin will not be as thick as store-bought canned pumpkin. Adjust the liquid in your baking recipes to accomodate for this.
- Regarding pureed pumpkin, in order to store it for later use, you must freeze it instead of can it. Because of its density and lack of acid, canning it is not a safe method of storing. To read more about it, check out this article.
I’ve already used my pureed pumpkin for pumpkin french toast and have plans for pumpkin waffles tomorrow. If the recipe turns out, I will share it with you next Saturday. The rest is tucked neatly in quart-sized freezer bags in the chest freezer. I plan on using it for pumpkin muffin Christmas gifts this year!