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How to Bake Pumpkins

A Guide to Cooking Pumpkins and Baking Pumpkin Seeds

Baked Pumpkin PieIt’s that time of year again; the time when the nostalgic aromas of homemade pumpkin pie, warm pumpkin bread, sweet pumpkin muffins and savory pumpkin seeds fill the air. With an abundance of pumpkins filling up gardens, local farmers markets, roadside stands and grocery store aisles it’s the perfect time to ripen your pumpkin baking skills.

Baking with Pumpkins

After you have found the perfect pumpkins for eating, it’s time to dig into the pumpkin baking process. Below we have listed several different ways to prepare pumpkins for baking and cooking, as well as a quick instructional on making warm and toasty pumpkin seeds. Of course there are microwavable methods out there too, but since microwaves can break down the nutrients in food we will focus on the conventional oven methods of baking pumpkins to help retain as much of the pumpkins nutritional value possible. Plus there is hardly anything better than the house filled with the aroma of baked pumpkin!

How to Bake Pumpkins Method 1:

  • With a serrated knife slice off each end of the pumpkin
  • Sliced Pumpkins for BakingCut the pumpkin in half (lengthwise or horizontal depending on how big your baking dish is)
  • Coat the bottom of your oven-safe baking dish with cooking spray, a rubbing of olive oil, butter or light butter spray to prevent any sticking which may occur during the baking process
  • Place halved pumpkins in baking dish,  cut side down
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 1-2 hours or until tender
  • Once the pumpkin is baked, remove from the oven and allow to cool
  • After the pumpkin has cooled gently remove the rind and scoop out the seeds and stringy fibers
  • Cut into small pieces for use in a puree or cube them to use in hearty soups and stews.

How to Bake Pumpkins Method 2:

  • With a serrated knife slice off each end of the pumpkin
  • Cut the pumpkin in half
  • One at a time, cradle each pumpkin half and scoop out the seeds and stringy fibers (reserve the seeds for baking)
  • Cut the pumpkin into smaller pieces, maintaining uniform thickness to ensure even baking
  • Coat the bottom of an oven-safe baking dish with cooking spray, a gentle rubbing of olive oil, butter or light spray butter for added flavor and to prevent sticking during baking
  • Place pumpkin pieces in baking dish
  • Add just enough water to the baking dish to fill the bottom and cover
  • Bake at 325 degrees until tender
  • Bake times vary depending on the size of pumpkin pieces. Pumpkin pieces are ready when you can stick a fork through them.
  • Once pumpkin pieces have cooled, gently peel away the rind

How to Boil Pumpkins

  • Using a serrated knife slice off the ends of the pumpkin
  • Cut the pumpkin in half
  • Scoop out the stringy fibers and seeds (save the seeds for baking)
  • Using a Y-shaped vegetable peeler or sharp kitchen knife peel away the rind
  • Cut the pumpkin flesh into even-sized cubes
  • Bring pot of water to a boil
  • Boil pumpkin cubes 15-30 minutes depending on size and thickness
  • Pumpkin is ready when fork tender

How to Puree Fresh Pumpkin

Once pumpkin is fully cooked you may want to puree the pumpkin so you can make creamy pumpkin soups, pumpkin pie or other delicious fall dishes. Pureeing pumpkin is easy. Follow the simple pumpkin puree tips below.

  • Place the warm and tender pumpkin pieces into a large bowl
  • Use a fork, potato masher or food processor to make your pumpkin puree
  • If your pumpkin puree is too watery, drain it in a cheesecloth or sieve, or cook it down in a sauce pan
  • Refrigerate fresh pumpkin puree for up to three days
  • To use fresh pumpkin puree throughout the chilly months, place it in an airtight freezer bag, mark the date with a permanent marker and freeze for up to 6 months

How to Bake Pumpkin Seeds

  • pumpkin Seeds RawPlace pumpkin seeds in a colander and rinse thoroughly with water, ensuring no pumpkin pulp is left
  • Boil the pumpkin seeds in salt water for 10 minutes, then drain.
  • Pat away excess water on the seeds using paper towel
  • Cover a baking sheet with tin foil
  • Spray tin foil with cooking spray or use a rubbing of olive oil or butter for added flavor and to prevent sticking during baking
  • Spread pumpkin seeds evenly, in a single layer on pan
  • Sprinkle seeds with sea salt or other tasty seasonings like onion salt, garlic salt and/or cracked black pepper
  • Bake at 400 degrees for 5-20 minutes depending on your oven
  • Pumpkin seeds are done when lightly browned
  • Remove baking sheet from oven and lightly loosen with a hand oven mitt or spatula

Enjoy! Just don’t burn your mouth!

Plan your Vegetable Garden layout for next season to include Pumpkins

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