Are you one of those people that stock their pantry with cans of pumpkin puree the minute you feel a chill in the air? I think pumpkin in a can is a miracle, there are so many uses for it! But people get intimidated by cooking an actual pumpkin… It’s a weird squash with thick skin that you may have only ever taken a knife to when making a jack o’ lantern.
Well, it’s surprisingly easy to cook with and comparable to cooking butternut squash. So let me show you how it’s done and you’ll suddenly find whole pumpkins are good for a lot more than taking Cinderella to the ball or scaring trick or treaters at Halloween.
- Place your cutting board on a rubber grip mat or a wet towel so it cannot slide. Make sure you have a very sharp knife, a sharp knife is a safe knife.
- Wash any grit off the pumpkin and preheat your oven to 375 Fahrenheit.
- Place the pumpkin firmly on the cutting board, with the tip of your knife, dig in near the stem (do not try to cut through the stem) until the knife tip is submerged. Carefully and firmly cut downwards toward the cutting board. You can reposition the knife if necessary. Your opposite hand should always be in a claw to protect your fingers.
- Turn the pumpkin around and repeat step 3 on the other side. Your pumpkin should now be in half. Scrape out the seeds with a metal spoon, don’t stress if some of the fibers are left.
- Cut the stem out and if you have a very large pumpkin, cut it into wedges. Rub the flesh with grapeseed or vegetable oil and sprinkle with salt if desired.
- Line a sheet pan with foil and place the pumpkin cut side down on the pan. Wedges can go on their side. Roast until the pumpkin is cooked through about 40 minutes to 1.5 hours depending on the size of your pumpkin.
- When the pumpkin is cool enough to handle, scrape the flesh out and discard the skin. Puree the cooked pumpkin in the food processor or with an electric mixer. Store in the fridge for three days or freeze indefinitely.