As I mentioned in earlier posts, I grow pumpkins for decorative purposes........
those pumpkins are still on the vine..........
but I also planted these " little Jacks" solely for baking.
I sprouted them in early spring in the greenhouse and planted them ahead of the usual pumpkin planting time.
In the past I have usually cooked my pumpkins in a pot of boiling water.....
but this year I wanted to try baking them in the oven..........
I am so glad I did. I am going to use this method from now on.
If you would like to try fresh pumpkin ..................this is an easy way to prepare it for baking.
Clean the outside of the pumpkins well.....making sure that all dirt is gone.
Then slice them down the middle........then remove all strings/pulp and seeds ......set aside......
don't throw away the seeds.........they are good for toasting or for next year's planting
Preheat oven to 350.F
Place aluminum foil over a baking sheet that is at least 1 inch deep. This prevents the juice from the pumpkins from spilling out of the pan. Place the pumpkins, cut side down onto the foil.
**I rub a little vegetable oil on the inside cut of pumpkin halves so that they do not stick to the foil**
Place pumpkins into oven and bake about 1 1/2 hours to 2 hours or until the pumpkin can be easily pierced with a a fork.
When done, remove the pumpkins from oven and let cool slightly.
Taking care not to burn yourself, peel the pumpkin skin away or use a knife or spoon to scoop pumpkin meat off of the skin.
Mash with potato masher or food processor until the pumpkin is pureed and smooth
Now it is ready for all of your "pumpkin" recipes.
You can also place processed pumpkin into freezer bags to store in freezer for later use.
If you go to my cooking blog....
there is a wonderful pumpkin bread recipe using fresh pumpkin.
The pumpkin bread is so moist and delicious.
Now.............back to the seeds.
Remove the pulp/strings from the seeds. Place seeds in a colander and rinse with cold water ......making sure to remove any remaining pulp.
If you wish to save the seeds for future planting........
Instructions often say to lay the pumpkin seed on paper towels until they dry.......
however, I do not like paper towels for this because the towels often stick to the seeds and is hard to remove afterwards.
Instead, I use cut a large square of clean cheese cloth........long enough to go over and under a baking sheet.......and I tie the ends together on the back of the baking sheet to make the cheesecloth tight.
I then spread the seeds onto the cheese cloth for drying.
After they have dried overnight..........I place them in a paper envelope where they will stay cool and dry until next planting season.
If you want to eat the seeds
clean and rinse them as stated above and place them in a bowl
and click onto my cooking blog for a simple and great recipe to toast the seeds.
Do you prefer fresh pumpkin over buying canned pumpkin?
I would love to hear!