WAY BACK IN 2007 I WROTE ABOUT ROASTING PUMPKINS WHOLE IN THE OVEN Talk about easy – just throw the pumpkin in the oven, whole, and once it's done roasting, it slices open like butter, no more finagling with a knife, no more worry about losing a finger. But then, what to make with the pumpkin flesh? (While we're deciding, scoop out the pumpkin seeds to make Spicy Sweet Pumpkin Seeds. They'll help!)
For awhile now, I've read/heard that "canned pumpkin is just as good as fresh". So I decided to figure it out for myself and last year roasted my first pumpkin. What???? You didn't know that??? Well, that's because the roasting process went fine but the pumpkin flesh itself was so blah. And yes, I roasted a sugar pie pumpkin (and not a pumpkin for jack o'lanterns) which by all rights should be good.
This year, the roasting process again went fine. I didn't do side-by-side comparisons, but the flesh of this year's roasted pumpkin made one delicious pumpkin pie and pretty light-orange pancakes until the last bit turned into a pumpkin smoothie. Unfortunately I didn't save enough for Pumpkin Bread Pudding which my friend Ann served at our book club last week and ... yumm.
So I haven't decided yet whether canned pumpkin is better or not – just that last year I had no luck with roasted pumpkin and this year I'm more than pleased. What about you – what's your experience?
BUT PUMPKINS YIELDED INCONSISTENT RESULTS
You know how you some times read that some pumpkins are watery and tasteless? Two out of the three so-called "good" baking/roasting pumpkins have turned out that way for me. After roasting, pureeing and draining, a smallish Sugar Pie Pumpkin (#3) yielded only 1 cup of (watery, tasteless) flesh but I was shocked to measure the liquid that emerged. There was well more than a cup! It needn't go to waste: just add it to a soup (as the liquid, not for flavor in a pumpkin soup, say). But STILL.
In contrast, the large Hubbard squash shown behind the measuring cup yielded 6 cups of flesh and not a single tablespoon of liquid. THIS is what you want to use for dishes where real pumpkin flavor is called for.
But how can you tell, before roasting? I don't know, yet, though will work on this idea. What I do recommend, however, is having backup cans of pumpkin purée in the pantry, just in case!
SO THIS IS WHY I NOW ROAST KABOCHA SQUASH INSTEAD OF PUMPKIN
Over the years, I continued to have hit 'n' miss results with roasting pumpkins. It wasn't the method, it was the pumpkins. Some yielded watery tasteless results, others were great. But the trouble was, there was no knowing in advance which ones going to turn out. UNTIL NOW. I've quit roasting pumpkins and instead use what's called a Kabocha Squash – which is just fine since pumpkins are members of the squash family. With kabocha squash, I get wonderful flavorful flesh, one time after another. Now that I use the "roast the whole pumpkin" technique on kabocha squash, now I make Homemade Kabocha Squash "Pumpkin" Purée all the time. It's wonderful!
HELPFUL COMMENTS I also recommend reading the comments to this post, since many people have chimed in with suggestions and their own successful techniques. Thanks, all, for all your many useful comments! And pease do keep adding new comments, this is a very active page!
WHOLE ROASTED PUMPKIN
Time to table: 60 - 90 minutes
1 kabocha squash, preferably (or a sugar pie pumpkin or any pumpkin OTHER than one for Halloween jack o' lanterns)
Set oven to 400F/200C. Wash the pumpkin well, especially the blossom and stem ends. Rub the skin lightly with olive oil. Do put a baking sheet lined with foil on the lower rack below the pumpkin to catch any juice that might squeeze out, then put the pumpkin directly on the rack above, there's no need to wait for the oven to preheat. Roast for 60 - 90 minutes. The actual time will vary based on the oven's actual temperature, the moistness of the pumpkin, the variety of pumpkin. But it's done when a knife slips into the flesh like butter. Let it cool a bit before slicing open and even then, be careful when slicing open for the steam will rush out and could definitely burn. Scoop out the seeds (a grapefruit spoon works beautifully), then scrape the pumpkin off the skins. Refrigerate until ready to use. It also freezes beautifully, I usually freeze in one or two cup batches.
ALANNA's TIPS & KITCHEN NOTES
Straight from the oven, roasted pumpkin is more fibrous than the highly processed canned pumpkin, be sure to put it through a food processor before using it for baking.
According to the great resource Vegetable Love by Barbara Kafka, a two-pound sugar pie pumpkin will yield 2 cups of pumpkin purée. That is slightly less than what mine produced.
NEVER MISS A RECIPE!For "home delivery" of new recipes from A Veggie Venture, sign up here.
Once you do, new recipes will be automatically delivered straight to your e-mail In Box.
FAVORITE PUMPKIN RECIPES~ My Favorite Pumpkin Recipes ~
~ Pumpkin Corn Bread ~
~ Pumpkin Muffins ~
~ Thanksgiving Cake ~
~ more pumpkin recipes ~
from A Veggie Venture
~ Autumn Pumpkin Bread ~
~ Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars ~
~ Pumpkin Bread Pudding ~
~ more pumpkin recipes ~
from Kitchen Parade, my food column
PUMPKIN DAY My favorite fellow vegetable lover is a young chap named Freddie, who's seven years old and lives in England with his big sister Alex and his dad and his mum, she's the one who's in charge of their blog, The Great Big Vegetable Adventure, and who organized a "P is for Pumpkin" Party for today. Check out the pumpkin risotto that Freddie rated 9 out of 10 – though maybe anything with bacon ought to be handicapped? Freddie gives high marks to everything with bacon. Oh right! Just like the rest of us!! There's also Spiced Pumpkin, Bacon and Mussel Conchiglie (wait! more bacon!) from Book the Cook and Pumpkin Cheesecake Muffins from Hannah's Country Kitchen. Update: I see that Figs Olives Wine also has Freddie's number! She's just posted Pumpkin Fennel Tian with Bacon & Black Olives. Again, bacon!!
© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2007, 2011 & 2016 (repub)