As the weather starts to turn, I start to crave warm comforting foods. My mind becomes preoccupied with slow-cooker Soups, fresh out of the oven baked goods, fresh gingerbread and roasted pumpkin. A few years ago, I roasted my first pumpkin and have been hooked on home roasting ever since. There might be a common misconception that roast pumpkins is tedious, messy, hard, impossible or time consuming. Well, all of the above are wrong! It’s ridiculously easy, cleaner than the carving process and once you hack it, rub it with olive oil and place it in the oven you free for the next 45 minutes!
With the first pumpkin spotting for the season, I have had it on my mind to start my pumpkin roasting. I’ve been pinning recipes on my Pumpkin & Winter Squash Pinterest board, drooling over recipes and even quite nearly gave in and ordered a Starbucks Pumpkin Loaf with my Americano last week. Breathe a sigh of relief, I have held out! I wanted my home roasted pumpkin to make some muffins and I wasn’t going to settle for anything less!
My lovely pumpkin and I had a 3/4 mile walk home in the Seattle drizzle three weeks ago. On that walk I learned a few things, first, it’s truly the simple joys in life that matter most and for me that simply joy was fixating on a pumpkin and finally picking one up, grinning ear to ear as we walked home! Second, a 7 pound pumpkin gets heavy after a few blocks and seems to double in weight every block there after! And third, taking a pumpkin for a walk sure get’s you noticed… “hey nice pumpkin”, “my my, that’s a nnniiicceee looking pumpkin you have there”, and my favorite, “your pumpkin is nice, want to talk to me?”
Now, I have to admit that the poor thing sat on the counter and stared me down for the past 3 weeks and finally…FINALLY last night I figured that Halloween was the perfect night to roast a pumpkin! We don’t get trick or treaters, nor are we too into dressing up and going out to celebrate so pumpkin roasting it was! The nice thing about pumpkin, is that it’s not a sweet squash like butternut can be, it’s not stringy like spaghetti squash, and it’s not nutty flavored like acorn… it’s just the perfect mix of them all and quite delicious! I call it the tofu of squash, you can literally use it in ANY type of meal!!!I challenge you, find a meal that it wouldn’t go good in because it’s delicious in pasta, baked goods, ice cream, sauces, oatmeal, smoothies, sandwiches, spreads, soups, desserts, by it self… see!? It’s amazing!!
Home Roasted Pumpkin
Rimmed Baking sheet
Cutting board and knife
Spoon to scrape seeds and bowl to hold seeds
First, wash and dry the outside of your pumpkin. The outside flesh is tough and the pumpkin is round…and I’m pretty clumsy… annddd my wielding a knife is a good idea HOW!? Just to be safe, I opted for the horizontal half method. Using a sharp knife cut out the stem of the pumpkin as if you would to create a Jack o Lantern then cut the pumpkin in half from top to bottom.
Pre-heat the oven to 450 (*Tip- I increased the heat from the suggested 400 to 450 because I’m impatient and wanted dinner and it actually turned out just fine. The temp and amount of roasting time depends on your preferred texture and firmness for the pumpkin.) De-gut the pumpkin and separate out the seeds in the bowl to roast later. Be sure to remove all the stringy parts since they don’t taste as good.
Prep the Pumpkin- now at this part you have an option. I wanted half my pumpkin to puree for baked goods and half to cut into chunks and add to salads and pasta for the next few days. So, for my recipe I roasted half the pumpkin whole, and the cut the other half into wedges, rubbed the outside with olive oil and laid out on the aluminum foil lined baking sheet. Be sure to use a baking sheet with edges because the pumpkin holds water that actually releases during cooking so you’ll need those rimmed sides of the baking sheet to keep it contained.
Bake at 450 for 30 minutes, flip and cook for 15-20 minutes more or until pumpkin is cooked your desire. To tell if it’s done, carefully press the outside of the pumpkin skin making sure not to burn yourself (yes, that’s more a note to myself!) and it should yield to a gentle press.
Remove from the oven and let the pumpkin cool on a wire rack. Once it’s cool, use a spoon to scoop out your roasted pumpkin or a fork to peel away the skin from the wedges. The flesh of the pumpkin should fall away from the outer shell. I place the pumpkin in a strainer for about 10 minutes to let the additional water drain so it doesn’t get mushy.
At this point, the fun just continues and you can prepare the pumpkin for whatever you have in mind! Blend it up to make a puree, slice up the wedges, mash it with herbs, bake it into delicious goodies, blend up a smoothie or make a pumpkin spice latte, mix with your oatmeal…the options are endless!
Storing: The pumpkin will last in an air-tight container in the fridge for about a week. You can also freeze it for future use, and I wouldn’t let it go more than a few months in the freezer.
Roasting the seeds
Wash the seeds and separate from the stringy pumpkin parts. Pat them dry with a paper towel then lay them out on a greased cookie sheet. Dust with sea salt, or whatever your preferred spice or seasoning is and toast in 325 degree oven for about 20-25 minutes, stirring the seeds around on the tray half way through the cooking.
Check out a few ideas on my Pumpkin & Winter Squash Pinterest board for inspiration!
What do you plan to do with your roasted pumpkin! Post pictures and recipes below!