Baking with pumpkin? Making your own fresh pumpkin purée is EASY.


Pumpkins, pumpkins, everywhere…

But what do you DO with them – aside from admire their cheery, bright orange presence on your doorstep, and eventually carve them into a jack-o’-lantern?

Well, you can actually cook pumpkin and make it into all kinds of wonderful treats, from pie and scones to muffins (gluten-free!) and bread and soup and… well, suffice it to say we have 56 recipes on our site making use of this versatile vegetable. Or fruit. (But vegetable is more alliterative, so let’s stick with that.)

See the pumpkins pictured above? That monster in the back is great for jack-o’-lanterns. But it’s not particularly good for cooking. The smaller pumpkins in front are much more appropriate.

If you want to make your own pumpkin purée, choose a sugar pumpkin, which is smaller, about the size of a volleyball (more or less). You’ll usually see them labeled as cooking, pie, or sugar pumpkins, and they’ll weigh in the 4- to 8-pound range.

Can you make pumpkin purée from a big (non-sugar) pumpkin? Sure. The purée won’t be as flavorful, that’s all.


Here’s a 5-pound sugar pumpkin.

I bought it from one of the sports teams at our local high school, which did a pumpkin fundraiser. Good idea, eh?


Pierce your pumpkin all over with an ice pick or sharp-pointed knife – you want to get into the hollow interior.

Microwave the pumpkin for about 10 minutes. Why? Because it cuts the oven-baking time just about in half. If you don’t have a microwave (or don’t want to use it on your pumpkin), you can skip this step.

Notes: One reader reports the stem of her pumpkin caught fire in the microwave, so best to remove the stem, if you’re worried. And, if you’re baking a large pumpkin, cut it into manageable chunks, pieces you can fit onto baking sheets. Skip the microwave step above, and simply bake in a 350°F oven until tender.


Cut the pumpkin in half, and scoop out the seeds – I’m using a serrated grapefruit spoon here, which works well.

Save the seeds; you can roast and snack on them later.


Place the pumpkin, cut-side down, on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for about 45 minutes (for a 5-pound pumpkin), until the pumpkin’s flesh is easily pierced with a fork.

Remove it from the oven, scoop out the flesh, and purée it in a food processor; or simply mash it.

Place it in a sieve, put a plate on top, and weigh it down. Set it over a bowl to catch the juice. Let the purée drain for 30 to 45 minutes, until it’s thick.

Oh, and save the juice if you like, too; you can use it in bread dough, where it adds healthy beta-carotene.

How much thickened purée can you expect to get? Figure about 25%, by weight, of the starting weight of the pumpkin. My 5-pound pumpkin yielded 19 1/2 ounces purée, which is about 2 1/2 cups.

So, what next?

Baking! Is there any difference between baking with homemade pumpkin purée, vs. canned?


There’s definitely a difference in color – homemade on the left, canned on the right.

But will that color difference translate to the finished product? And how about flavor?


Check out the pumpkin scone dough made with homemade purée vs. canned; you can definitely see a color difference in the dough. But once the scones are baked – not so much.

The color difference is more apparent in the pumpkin doughnuts, with homemade purée lending a more golden hue.

But flavor?

I couldn’t tell the difference, so long as the canned purée is good and fresh. Don’t rely on the “good by” date on the can; if you’ve had purée sitting in the pantry for awhile, do yourself a favor: taste before using. If it’s at all metallic-tasing, chuck it out, and buy new.

Or even better, make your own!

The last thing you want to do is ruin a good recipe by using old, bad-tasting pumpkin purée.

Pumpkin Cake Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting, anyone?

But wait a minute – let’s not forget those seeds.


Take the scooped-out seeds and any stringy pump, and place them in a large bowl. Add water.

Whisk by hand, until the seeds separate from the pulp. Or use your stand mixer, equipped with the whisk attachment or beater blade, to do the job. It only takes 20 to 30 seconds at medium speed.

The detached seeds will float to the surface of the water, where they’re easily skimmed off. Place them in a strainer to drain.


Scoop the seeds into a bowl, and toss them with olive oil and a bit of salt; I like to use garlic oil.

Spread on a lightly greased baking sheet, and roast in the oven, along with the pumpkin. Watch closely; they’ll cook much more quickly than the pumpkin, needing only about 25 minutes at 350°F to go from raw to roasted.

Remove the roasted seeds from the oven when they’re golden brown; some will be browner than others, so just go for a happy medium.


Cool and enjoy.

And speaking of cool – if you don’t use that fresh purée right away, freeze it; it’ll stay good in the freezer for at least 3 months.

I like to freeze pumpkin in 6-ounce packets, as two of my favorite pumpkin recipes – the scones and baked doughnuts mentioned above – use about 6 ounces and 12 ounces of purée respectively.

Happy pumpkin baking!


PJ Hamel

PJ Hamel was born in Wisconsin, grew up in New England, and graduated from Brown University. She was a journalist in Massachusetts and Maine before joining the King Arthur Flour Company in 1990, where she's been ever since. Author or co-author of three King Arthur ...


  1. bsteimle

    I cook mine up in the pressure cooker. Half it, scoop out the seeds, then quarter it. Cook for about 10-15 minutes, then I puree it in the food processor. Easy peasy.

    Ah, pressure cooker – of course! Thanks- PJH

  2. Naia

    I use a carrot peeler on the raw pumpkin skin, then boil the chunks until soft. Then I don’t have to wait for it to cool to scrape out the insides and it seems like you get more pumpkin meat. I like either steaming or boiling for the cooking process; it is very dry where I live and roasting dries the chunks out.

    Thanks for your feedback, Naia – another way to “skin the cat”! PJH

  3. marcin

    I worry that this is almost too easy, however: The past couple of years I’ve been baking pumpkins and squashes whole, 60 or 90 minutes, in a moderate oven. I cut them up while they are still warm. I scoop out the seeds and put them back in the oven if they are not soft enough. When they are really soft, I run them through the food processor and freeze them in 1-cup amount. So far this has worked and has prevented some stress on my wrists in terms of carving. And pumpkin meat is a little less watery when baked this way (which would also be true of the roasting method you describe). And the flavor has been great too, so I would say this method does not mean the seeds are corrupting the flavor of the pumpkin meat. My only worry is that I’m releasing something–a chemical or bacteria or something else–from the seeds into the pumpkin meat by cooking the seeds with the pumpkin. Does anyone know if it is safe to cook the pumpkins whole, before removing the seeds?

    I don’t know for sure, but since you can eat the seeds with no ill effect, I wouldn’t think there would be anything harmful in them (unlike, say, apple seeds). anyone have any thoughts on this? PJH

  4. Aaron Frank

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! This is perfect timing. I was wondering how to do this.

    Is there any difference in the taste between roasted and microwaved? I was just reading some ice cream recipies (yes I know what month it is) and it calls for roasting berries to bring out their flavor.


    Aaron, maybe if you roast for a long time, until the flesh is quite brown? I imagine the flavor would be heightened due to less moisture, which always enhances flavor… I was just too impatient (and too cognizant of the cost of electricity!) to let it go longer… PJH

  5. meushaw

    I’ve been roasting my own pumpkins for a few years now, ever since Libby’s announced a little while back that there would be a shortage for the next year.

    Traditionally I did like you, cut them, scoop out the seeds, then roast them. This year, I tried a different technique based off of another blog. First, I roasted them. Without cutting them at all; I just stuck them on a baking sheet standing upright. When they were done, I pulled off the stem (it popped right off), cut them in half, and then scooped them out. It was MUCH easier to take out the strings and the seeds when the fleshy walls were already softened! Of course, we didn’t have a serrated spoon, which would also make it easier.

    Usually, we just make pumpkin pie out of the pulp, but the cake bars with cream cheese icing looks intriguing….

    Sounds even easier – are you still able to “harvest” and roast the seeds, then? PJH

  6. rachelfernald

    THANK YOU, THANK YOU! I received a cooking pumpkin in my CSA veggie box last week. I have been staring at it wondering how to turn it into something yummy!

    Glad to help, Rachel – sometimes all we need to demystify something new is a nudge and a helping hand, right? PJH

  7. johndanks

    I did this for the first time a few weeks ago. After plenty of research I settled on this method: Cut pumpkins in half, scoop out the seeds, place cut side down on a rimmed baking sheet, add water to 1/4 inch and bake at 350 for 60 minutes or until soft.

    I processed them in the food processor for about 3 minutes per batch. I’ll have to try the mixer next time since it can handle larger amounts.

    Fresh puree has more water than canned, so it helps to drain the puree in a colander lined with a wet paper towel or two for a little while. You can even carefully squeeze more water out of it if you want. Then the pumpkin “juice” can be used in place of water in any recipes.
    Love that idea, thanks for sharing! ~ MaryJane

  8. Margy

    I roast my pumpkins (squash too), as above; the caremelization really enhances the sweetness. I like a really concentrated puree, so, if there seems to be too much liquid, I further cook it down in my wide non-stick skillet. That way none of the flavor gets poured off with the liquid.

  9. Bill_Lundy

    An excellent, timely post, thank you. Like several others, I, too, have been doing my own pumpkin flesh from scratch as it were. I must admit I prefer roasting as it seems to dry out the flesh a little better: IMHO, very critical when the flesh is destined for pie usage. No matter which method, though, I let the pureed flesh sit in a chinois for several hours. Sometimes a 2 kg pumpkin gives off very little moisture; other times it’s surprising how much drains out. The drained flesh is then saved (it freezes very well) or (usually) finds its way into a pie the next day. And, to boot, doing it from scratch impresses the heck out of a LOT of people!

    Thanks for the chinois tip, Bill – I think I might drain the 3 cups I have left in my yogurt strainer, see what happens… PJH

  10. HighPrairieBaker

    I also live in a dry area, and last weekend for the first time I made pumpkin puree because I couldn’t bear the thought of wasting all the stuff around the seeds I had grown pumpkins for! I used my counter-top roaster with water, set it to 250 and it took almost 2 hours to cook a pretty good sized pumpkin cut into 4-5″ chunks. Meanwhile I soaked my seeds in a brine overnight then roasted – yum!
    Now I am trying to find a good pumpkin cookie recipe, and a good pumpkin yeast bread recipe – preferably one that will work in my bread machine (Zoji). Tried a Harvest Bread recipe which was okay but not as savory as I wanted. Suggestions welcome!

    Pumpkin yeast bread: you might try our Cranberry-Pumpkin Rolls, cut back by 1/3 to fit in the Zo. Not sure how it will work, but it’s a start. And how about these Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies? Enjoy – PJH

  11. tofugirl

    Great post! Making puree is so easy and satisfying, and like you I don’t want to waste a hot oven so I roast a bunch of squash all at once. I find mixing a few varieties together helps approximate the texture of canned puree (so if you have a watery pumpkin, add something like kabocha squash, which is much drier)…but sometimes it’s so tasty I just end up eating it with a spoon.

    Which is exactly what my husband did. I came home and he said, “Boy, that squash was the best squash you’ve ever cooked.” Squash? I looked in the fridge, and he’d eaten the pumpkin I was going to use for scones! Oh, well… back to the farmer’s market! :) PJH

  12. Lloyd

    I see a couple people said they roast the pumpkin whole. Isn’t there a danger of the thing exploding without some sort of vent to allow the steam to escape?

    The last thing I want is to spend the weekend scraping pumpkin guts from my oven.

    Lloyd, I’ll bet simply stabbing the pumpkin in several places would allay that danger (if it exists… not sure. Although I do recall a spaghetti squash exploding in our test kitchen microwave a few years ago. As you say – not a pretty picture!). PJH

  13. dinosaurl

    I always just cut in half, remove seeds, and place cut side down on baking pan. I cook more at 350-375 For an hour or so, depending on the size. when I poke the top of the skin, if it gives, it’s ready, if not, let bake! This will give you a thick, rich and dark sweet pulp like the commercial stuff! No need to process! It’ll be mushy! Yummy, great, now I’m hungry :)

    Well, gues you’d better go bake something to allay that hunger! Personally, I LOVE pumpkin bisque… PJH

  14. kaf-sub-maryhnsn63

    I have a couple sugar pumpkins so thank you for this posting! Question – could you use cheese cloth to drain the pumpkin puree to get some of the water out?

    You absolutely could use cheesecloth – or a fine sieve, or double layers of coffee filters. Good idea – thanks for sharing. PJH

    1. Diane Little

      A couple other recipes I have for cooking the whole pumpkin say stab it 6-10 times before cooking. The pictures always show the pokes to be on the upper half of the pumpkins. Hope this helps.

  15. Sarah

    Yes, sugar pumpkins are small and round. But small field pumpkins are also small and round. To be sure you have a sugar pumpkin and not a field pumpkin, look closely at the rind. Sugar pumpkins have little brown specks or dashes, which you can see if you look closely at the second picture above. Field pumpkins have plain, unmarked rind, which to my eye always seems brighter orange than the sugars.

    I prefer baking or roasting to boiling, steaming, or microwaving; as others said, the hot oven helps get rid of some of the moisture. I use a higher heat so that I get some caramelization, which enhances the flavor of the puree.

    As with any fresh fruit or vegetable, moisture content will vary with each piece, so be prepared for very dry or very wet results. You may need to drain…or not.

    Try this with butternut squash: Cut squash into quarters, remove the seeds, roast on an oiled sheet at 375 until tender. Peel, puree, and for each cup of puree, add 1/2 tsp ginger, a lump of butter, a generous dollop of pure maple syrup, salt and pepper. Smooth this into a baking dish and return it to the hot oven until it begins to caramelize around the edges. Dust with chopped pecans or hazelnuts. This is fabulous with roast pork or roast turkey. I make it up a few days before Thanksgiving and keep it in the fridge, ready to bake. This is worth using the blender or food processor, to achieve a holiday-worthy silken puree.

    Sarah, thanks so much. I LOVE squash, so this recipe is definitely going in my “must try” pile! PJH

  16. paulaachase

    I have always cut pumpkins in half, placed cut side down on a rimmed baking sheet, and baked until soft in a 375 to 400 oven. Puree flesh in the food processor for ultra smooth pumpkin. Favorite recipe is pumpkin custards, pumpkin pie filling poured into custard cups and baked in large glass dish with water (bain marie). Pumpkin pie without the crust!

  17. charliez

    I just baked 2 loaves of pumpkin bread last Sunday and it was my first time making the puree. I found in the internet this quick method. 1) rinse the pumpkin, 2) cook whole in microwave for 2 minutes on high, 3) take it out and poke it with a fork or icepik all over, 4) cook in the microwave for 4-5 minutes on high, 5) wrap on foil for 5-7 minutes, 6) cut in half, scoop out the seeds and “hair”, and scoop the “meat”. It all takes like 15 minutes and the puree does not come out watery like with the oven method. Works great and the bread recipe from King Arthur comes out delicious.

    Thanks for the tip – I’ll try it next time. PJH

  18. nannymac47

    Thank you all. I am retired and my budget is small but pumpkin is one of my all-time favorites for cooking. Libby’s canned puree has gotten so dear that I don’t use it as much as I used to. Now, I think I will go around to my daughter’s neighbors and beg their left over Jack-o-lanterns and fall displays. Wheee, free pumpkin puree! Prevention magazine had a wonderful recipe for squash soup which could include pumpkin. Can’t wait to try it.
    Again, thank you all.

  19. "Taneasha@Authors Kitchen"

    I made a couple of these over at Authors Kitchen recently, but without putting my puree through a food processor or blender, it was fairly stringy. One of the pumpkins was especially so. Any idea why that would happen?

    Taneasha, maybe you need to cook it longer – and definitely purée with a stick blender, food processor or, at least, a mixer… Try, try again, eh? PJH

  20. John

    I have also found that draining is easy and really firms up the pumpkin. After running it through the food processor I just put it into the big colander. The thickness of the baked pumpkin keeps it from running out the holes. Well a little bit might leak out but spoon it in carefully and then set the whole thing into a really big bowl. I set the bowl in the garage overnight and into the next day. I’ll drain off over a quart of liquid for a large pumpkin. When this is all over it’s almost as thick as what comes in a can. I feel this is a lot easier that messing with coffee filters and other ways and better drains the liquid. Now if I can come up with something to do with that liquid…

    Thanks, John – great tips. How about using the liquid in yeast bread or rolls? Or vegetable or other soups, or stew? PJH

  21. sherylm

    I love roasting my own pumpkin! I cut mine in half, scrape the seeds and place cut-side down on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake at 350 for 45-60 minutes, or until the flesh gives no resistance when pierced with a fork. I allow it to cool and then scoop the flesh and puree it in my food processor.

    I drain my pumpkin in the refrigerator for several hours by placing it in a colander lined with cheesecloth and placing it over a bowl, pouring off the liquid several times as it accumulates. I drain it to the point that it almost resembles the canned pumpkin in consistency. I find that in this way it performs better in baked goods, and makes a much creamier pie.

    It takes a little work but once you’ve gone there you can’t go back.

  22. vanwert

    If you use the sugar or pie pumpkins as noted here, you should notice a difference between this method and using canned.
    For the record, canned pumpkin is actually squash, usually Hubbard squash.
    I know this because I grew up with farmers who grew squash for the canning factory here.

  23. Lynda

    If I don’t have time to bake with the puree, can it be frozen?
    Yes, it sure may. My problem is remembering I have puree in the freezer for future use! Elisabeth

  24. Jens

    I have heard that aged pumpkins make the best pumpkin pie. Does anyone know of this and how one would age a pumpkin?

    Sugar pumpkins get top honors for flavor for homemade pumpkin puree – this blog states, “Can you make pumpkin purée from a big (non-sugar) pumpkin? Sure. The purée won’t be as flavorful, that’s all.”. We hope you find the source of your “aged pumpkin” recommendation and let us in on the secret. All we can find is reference to the the anti-aging properties of pumpkin (beta and alpha carotenes?)! Happy Baking! Irene@KAF

  25. LuAnne Smith

    I grow my own pumpkins, & this year I have HUGE PUNKINS (50 lbs at least) that I need some good advice on. Do you have some good ideas as to how I should work with these behemoths…. ????? Any & all suggestions you can give me will be gratefully & enthusiastically put to good use!!!!! THANX!

    Find a way to chunk the pumpkin into smaller pieces that will fit in your oven. Most bakers may say “knife” while we wonder WWPD (what would the Pilgrims do?). Happy Baking, er, chunking! Irene@KAF

  26. Jane

    I have made my pumpkin pies for 50 yrs using real pumpkin for the canned “stuff” has too much rind in it. I cut the pumpkin into pieces 2″ x 2″ and gently steam all the peices in a large pot until it is softened. Then I bake with it and freeze the rest. I do not puree it for it gives texture to the pie. I call it “butchering” the pumpkin. I have even asked people who have set the Halloween pumpkin out with the trash if I can have them as long as not cut. Steaming gives a fresher taste than baked. Any time we can eat as it grows is better than with preservatives. Food we harvest in the fall is created by God to be stored for the winter to nourish us.

    1. patricia

      Hi Jane~1 year later,
      After you steam, you said that you bake with it and freeze the rest. Just to clarify, do you bake it all and then freeze what you are not using at the moment or do you just bake what you are presently using and then freeze whatever you are not using right then? I’ve been having issues with my blender not working on the puree setting, and your expertise sounded like you may hold the perfect answer.

      It’s all food to be thankful for. : )

  27. Kellie G

    I skimmed the comments, so if this is a repeat question, I apologize. The note about using the pumpkin liquids in bread — do you use it 1:1 for the water in the recipe and how much pumpkin flavor do you get in the bread? That sounds really yummy!

    Using the pumpkin liquid is more about using what you have created by baking the pumpkin. It can be used to take advantage of the ingredient you have, adding color and possibly vitamin A/nutrients to your yeast breads – not so much about the pumpkin flavor. Happy Baking! Irene@KAF

  28. Jen

    I do the “cut my pumpkin in half and bake in the oven until soft” method. I do need to remember to use parchment paper next time, it’ll make clean up much easier. When I puree my pumpkin I use my hand cranked food mill. The kids love to help. And I drain my pumpkin. I even taught that to my mom as she kept complaining that she couldn’t get her pies to set properly.

  29. Cecilia Naughton

    I would cook down the juice until thick and syrupy, then substitute it into my favorite pumpking bread recipe, which calls for 2/3 cup water. There is a great banana bread recipe that calls for microwaving the bananas, collecting the resulting liquid, then cooking it down until very thick. So i think treating the pumpkin juice the same would be appropriate.

  30. BonJon (Raleigh)

    Have always dry roasted washed sugar pumpkins whole on baking sheets. Love the new weird looking hybrids like those “knobby” greenish blue ones for decorative displays, then cooking them. Because sugar pumpkins cost a lot more here, they’re hardly worth the work compared to the cost of canned. But the decorative value helps and the flavor is divinely better. However, my garden assistant swears by boiling up jack-a-lanterns November 1st for his famous muffins. He insists they taste as sweet. (We’re having a pumpkin cook-off this year.)

    Am going to try this method, since I’ve never been certain I could then re-roast the seeds and have them cook correctly. We do get a lot of liquid out of the mash. Perhaps roasting whole retains liquid? To the person who wondered if they would explode in the oven: well, they haven’t yet. But it is difficult to check for done-ness. I know they are done, though, if they implode slightly: sugar pumpkins often have a larger stem, which sinks into the pumpkin!

  31. Ruthie

    I have made my own pumpkin purée since Home Ec classes, a very long time ago!! BUT, how do you not taste a difference??? The real thing is so much better and my family agrees! It is best to use “sugar” pie pumpkins than Jack ‘O Lanterns.

  32. Michael

    I used to work as an Activities Director in an Adult Day Care and as an activity every year we would make our own puree and roast our own seeds. Then we would make our own pie and pumpkin bread. If my patients and I could do it for over 100 people you can do it for your family.

  33. Sharon G

    @marcin, I too have been roasting pumpkins whole. After struggling trying to cut pumpkins in half, I decided to try roasting them whole…so much easier! I jab a few holes is the pumpkin with an ice pick, for pressure relief, I’ve experienced exploding potatoes and I have no desire to experience exploding pumpkins! HaHa Exploding Pumpkins…sounds like a band name! I put the smaller pumpkins in a large covered crock. The larger ones in a foil covered roast pan, or sheet pan. Bake @350 for about 90 minutes..until a knife slides in easily. I prefer the smaller pumpkins…they fit in my crock, and the seeds are more tender. Regarding pumpkin puree..if you have a dehydrator, the absolute best pumpkin pie is made from dehydrated pumpkin. Dehydrated pumpkin requires a few more steps to get to the dehydrated stage, but it’s easier to store and so versatile.

  34. Brenda

    Aging pumpkins and squash is commonly called curing them. They are left in the sun to harden the skins before storage. During this couple of weeks the flesh can sweeten and provide a richer flavor from one picked and immediately used. Unless you are picking your own or get them from a friend they are probably already cured but you may want to ask at the farmer’s market or stand.
    Great tip, thanks for sharing Brenda! ~ MJ

  35. Joe

    My wife and I have been using butternut squash in place of pumpkin for some time now and it works great. Butternut squash is readily available even when pumpkin is not in the grocery store. We find it has a slightly sweet and creamy texture. To prepare it, we cut the squash lengthwise into quarters, remove the seeds and peel it using a vegetable peeler. Then we cut it into 1 inch squares and place these in our vegetable steamer. It takes 10-15 minutes to get to a fork tender stage. After steaming we push the squash through a sieve to make sure any fibers are broken up. We clean out the sieve and put the puree in the sieve and set it aside allowing the puree to drain. Once the is done, we make pie. If we don’t use all of the squash puree for pie, it makes a great side dish for dinner.
    Thanks so much for sharing this. My mother in law often made squash pies, this brings back memories. ~ MJ

  36. sigkat

    I have been making pumpkin pies from fresh, oven-baked whole pumpkins for about40 years. I take the fresh sugar pumpkin, stab holes all around upper half of pumpkin with a meat fork. I then put the pumpkin on a cookie sheet in a 350 oven for 1 to 1 1/2 hrs. (will sink in when poked with fingers.) I let in cool for 10 min. then use a fork to remove skin, (it usually falls apart.) Very easy at this point to remove the pulp, seeds and skin. I have never needed to put the puree into a blender, or needed to drain for excess water! Let puree cool while you get rest of ingredients together, and make your pie. Turns out great every time!

  37. Pattie C

    I have about 60 of the mini orange pumpkins, can you eat these?

    Most of those mini pumpkins are ornamental, not edible. Check with your pumpkin grower to be sure! Happy Baking – Irene@KAF

  38. LuAnne Smith

    Re:CHUNKING. When I shared your really cute WWPD (What Would the Pilgrims Do) reply w/my husband Doc, he brought out his MACHETE & said that he will make sure it is sharpened & do the CHUNKING for me…..& he got some really fine mesh screen to put on a draining frame that he made for the CHUNKS after they are baked……..What a Sweetheart …… Thank you so much for the suggestion, cause I just knew that even a shoehorn wouldn’t get these huge PUNKINS into my oven whole!

    That’s just what we had in mind – and wonder if the Pilgrims would have used an ax?! Happy chunkin’ punkin. Irene@KAF

  39. SHaron Karpinski

    Yes—Use sugar pumpkins which are fun to grow, too. Yes—the puree freezes beautifully. You will have far fresher, healthier pumpkin puree later than you will if you just open a can. A little golden rum, brown sugar, and cinnamon in the puree for a pie will get the color darker if that’s a concern and the three ingredients add wonderful flavor.

  40. Linda

    I have read the comments but did not see any that mentioned canning the pumpkin once it is drained of it’s juices. Is it OK to either pressure can it or water bath process rather than freeze it?

    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Linda, I don’t know enough about canning to dare answer that one. I’m sure the Ball Web site or other canning resources could help you, though. Good luck – PJH


      yes,you can…can pumpkin as long as you leave it in chunks. Pureed pumpkin is dangerous as you can’t th get the temperature hot enough in either water bath, or pressure cooker it is too dense. It’s easier to puree and freeze. I ruined 13 quarts of pumpkin not realizing you can’t do this, I went to get a jar to make a pumpkin pie to notice a white substance that looked like wax in my jars. I started researching canning pumpkin and discovered my mistake.

    3. PJ Hamel , post author

      Thank you SO much for your feedback here – it’s always good to hear from those who’ve “been there, done that.” I love that we all learn from one another. Cheers – PJH

  41. Alice

    I worked in a grocery store 45 years ago. Produce department would take Hubbard Squash and drop it on the cement floor out back. Maybe the Pilgrims dropped their pumpkins, etc. onto a clean spot on the ground.

  42. MMD

    Have you ever thought of, or tried, injecting things into one of the vent holes of the pumpkin? You know, to roast it with flavoring? Maybe some rum and seasonings.. I am thinking about trying that.

    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Hmmm… My first thought is the seasonings would probably mostly get scooped out along with the seeds and “innards” once you open the pumpkin. But it’s worth a try. I often do something like that with winter squash, only I cut it in half, then scoop out the seeds, and drizzle rum, butter, maple syrup, etc. over the cut sides, where it pools in the concave hollow and gradually seeps in as the squash bakes. You might want to try that, if the “injection” method doesn’t work. Good luck – PJH

  43. Daisy

    This is my first year baking my own pumpkins.I want To use them for pies and rolls.I have two sugar pumpkins,one big fifteen pound field pumpkin,and one medium pumpkin that Im not sure if its field or not.anyway my question is can I use my big pumpkin and sweeten the puree to use in my recipes?Thx in advance

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Yes, your roasted pumpkin should work fine. Though, I would not sweeten the puree if you are using it for baking. Generally, your recipes will have more than enough. Jon@KAF

  44. Pacifikka

    I have always been afraid to try a whole pumpkin this gave me courage to try, seeing pics and all, thanks!

  45. Nicole

    Thought I should mention here that I just tried this microwave method, and for whatever reason, my stem actually caught on fire in the microwave. Needless to say, I’ll be skipping that step. Be careful!

    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Wow, that’s unusual, Nicole – thanks so much for sharing here, so others can be aware. PJH

  46. Nancy

    Can you dehydrate the pumpkin WITHOUT cooking it first? How about cutting it into small cubes, dehydrate, then make into powder. Will this result in same product as with pureeing it first?

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hmm, I don’t believe this is going to work, Nancy. While we are straining some of the moisture from the puree, it still contains water. A dehydrated pumpkin won’t really have much left inside to work. Jon@KAF

  47. C

    Thanks for a great post. I cut up a pumpkin for the first time maybe 2 weeks ago, pureeing and freezing it. My problem is, I have left the seeds to dry since removing them from the pumpkin with the intention of roasting them later; however, I’ve since heard that the seeds go bad if left unattended for a while. Is it too late to do so now? Do the seeds go bad when just left out in the open? Will boiling before roasting help? Please give some advice as to what to do next! My favorite part has always been the seeds, and I would hate for them all to go to waste! Thank you!

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Yes, they will go bad if left at room temperature for some time. It will be really obvious though! Just a day or 2 probably will not effect them though. I like to toss in olive oil and kosher salt or some other seasoned salt and bake! Or you can do both salt and sugar. That is how my kids like them. Elisabeth@KAF

  48. Heather in CA

    Re. seeds going bad at room temperature:
    If the seeds have been washed before drying at room temperature, you’ve got a long time before they would “go bad”. Think about it: nature designed these seeds to stay “good” until next spring, when they would grow into new little punkin plants. It’s the roasted seeds that I would worry about going rancid at room temp- you’ve now deactivated all those living enzymes that keep the “live” (unroasted) seed fresh.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Very good point Heather. They need to be washed first. I have left seeds fresh from the pumpkin on a baking sheet intending to get back to them only to find mold growing some days later. Elisabeth@KAF

  49. Elizabeth Innocenzi

    I make my purée from “Cinderella pumpkins”
    The ones that look like her carriage !
    Place in 1 and 3 cup amounts so I have them ready for anything and my favorite pumpkin bread recipe . I freeze enough for the year and to give away !! Love fall

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      I just saw that type at a local farm, they were quite cute. I didn’t know they were good for baking! Jon@KAF

  50. Maureen

    I’ve been “rendering” pumpkins for purée for probably 30 years, but only recently started trying varieties other than sugar pumpkins. We found a farm that grows both carving and baking pumpkins, where I first discovered the “blue” and “Cinderella” varieties. This year I bought one of each and plan to do side-by-side comparisons to see if we can tell a difference. I just baked the blue yesterday; very dry, so I’ll need to add some moisture to purée it. (I got about 2 gallons of “meat” out of a 15-lb pumpkin.) It’ll be interesting to see how the cinderella compares.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Let us know how the Cinderella pumpkin turns out, Maureen. And thanks for sharing your insights! Barb@KAF

  51. Sandy

    this will be first year at baking a Long Island cheese pumpkin. My daughter in law told me she baked one last year after a “baker” friend recommended them. She said these were a meatier pumpkin with a superior flavor. I’ll find out today when I bake mine. She also reported the pumpkin skin caused her hands to break out in a strange rash so she’ll be wearing gloves this year.

  52. Sandy

    Happy to report the Long Island cheese pumpkin came out great, lots of pumpkin purée, and didn’t developed a rash on my hands.

  53. SusanWozniak

    I’ve been using Long Island cheese pumpkins for years. I find them milder in flavor. I have never used canned pumpkin for a pie because I prefer the flavor of fresh pumpkin. While there are many dishes — potato salad, beef stew, roasts — that I never make the same way twice in a row, I have a standard pumpkin pie recipe involving pumpkin, heavy cream and molasses. Ruth Reichl once recommended abandoning fresh pumpkin for the smoothness of canned. Frankly, if you blend the pumpkin with the heavy cream, eggs and molasses (saving a few steps), it is produces a custard as smooth as a custard made from the canned vegetable.

    1. MaryJane Robbins

      Guess what I’m having for breakfast, Susan? That’s right pumpkin pie! Nothing like that smooth, rich custard with a cup of coffee to start the day off right. Thanks for sharing! ~ MJ

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