How To Roast A Sugar Pumpkin & Make Fresh Pumpkin Purée – A Step-by-step Photo Tutorial

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I unofficially deem this Sugar Pumpkin Week here on Oh She Glows. No wait, make that officially!

I’m not talking canned pumpkin this week.

I’m certainly not talking large carving pumpkins this week.

But sweet, cute-as-a-button sugar pumpkins. The ones that started showing up quite early in my grocery store at the end of August (thank you Organic Garage!). Often just 2-4 pounds, sugar pumpkins (also known as pie pumpkins or pumpkin pie squash) are sweeter than larger carving pumpkins, making them perfect for all of your favourite pumpkin dishes. Their flesh is also firmer and less stringy than carving pumpkins.

My goals for this week are to show you how simple it is to prepare a sugar pumpkin whether its roasting, puréeing, toasting the seeds, or making recipes. It’s really much easier and faster than you might think (at least it was for me!) and it’s nice to take a break from canned pumpkin once in a while. The flavour of a fresh roasted pumpkin is quite different from the canned variety; it’s a bit earthier and nuttier, not to mention so buttery when roasted. A side-by-side taste comparison of canned pumpkin versus freshly roasted pumpkin will make your head explode. It’s definitely worth the extra work now and then.

I hope my photos will inspire you to try it out for yourself if you haven’t already done so. For the pumpkin pros out there, feel free to share you favourite tips and recipes in the comments. If you can’t find a pie pumpkin in your area yet, feel free to try this with butternut squash. The roasting process is pretty much the same and the outcome is just as delicious.

All set?

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Roasting 101:

1. Preheat the oven to 350F and grab small 2-3 pound sugar pumpkin(s). I like to roast a couple 2-lb. pumpkins at the same time. Remember – we’re not looking for the huge carving pumpkins here.

First things first, sharpen your knife! You don’t want to use a dull knife on any squash…or food for that matter. 

2. Slice the stem off before slicing in half so you don’t have to slice through the stem.

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I forgot to in this photo below, but it’s much easier when you remove the top! Some people prefer to slice off both ends and then peel the entire pumpkin before roasting, but I find it easier to peel the skin after roasting – much like with roasted beets.

3. Slice in half.

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4. With a sharp-edged spoon (I use a metal tablespoon with a sharp edge or you can use a metal ice cream scoop), scoop out the seeds & guts. Make sure you clean & save the seeds for roasting. I’ll show you my favourite way to roast the seeds coming up in a future post. Whatever you do, do not throw them out!

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5. Brush inside with oil (optional, but I like to) and place face down on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. I roasted two 1.9-lb. sugar pumpkins. They are so tiny and could all fit on my roasting pan!

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6. Roast at 350F for about 45-50 minutes. The exact time will vary depending on the size of the pumpkin(s) and you may need more time. The skin will be slightly darker and you should be able to poke a fork quite easily through (see image below).

Here is my pumpkin ready to come out of the oven. As you can see, the skin is a deep orange, slightly wrinkled, and my fork could easily slide through.

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6b) I could not resist sticking my fork in and tasting my first (very hot) bite. YUM!! If you want to stop here, just give it a good sprinkling of Herbamare and freshly ground black pepper. Then dig in!

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7. Let the pumpkin cool for 10 minutes before handling. Grab a large spoon and peel away the very thin skin. It comes off almost effortlessly. At this point, you can use the flesh in all kinds of dishes – soups, casseroles, risotto, pies, etc.

Steamy!

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Into the compost goes the skin. Unless you’re Eric, you might put it in a smoothie…(I joke, I joke).

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Today, I decided to make pumpkin puree for a recipe I was planning (hint #1!).

8. If making a puree: Place the pumpkin flesh into the blender and blend away until super smooth. I used my tamper stick on the Vitamix to push all the pumpkin down until it got going. Let it go for a good minute or two – you don’t want any clumps left.

The result was out of this world – so smooth and buttery!

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3.8 pounds of pumpkin (weighed before roasting) made 4-4.5 cups of pumpkin puree. Not too shabby at all! As a rule of thumb, 1 small sugar pumpkin should make enough puree to equal one 15-oz. can.

At this point you can drain the pureed pumpkin in a cheesecloth to remove excess water or you can use it as is. I didn’t bother draining it because I knew I’d be cooking it down for the recipe (hint #2!).

Whatever you do – be sure to save the seeds for roasting.

Coming up – the recipe I used my pumpkin puree for and my favourite way to roast pumpkin seeds.

What’s your favourite way to enjoy fresh pumpkin?

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{ 134 comments… read them below or add one }

Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat September 10, 2012

Great tutorial Ange! I saw the small sugar pumpkins this weekend at Whole Foods and was so tempted to buy one. I love scooping out the flesh and using them as a bowl for chili. I cook the chilli on the stove as normal, and roast the pumpkin (with the top and stem sliced off and hollowed out) while that’s happening. Then I fill the pumpkin with chili like a bowl, roast it a few more mins, then eat. It’s so, so good!!

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Sara Nickel September 10, 2012

Still waiting and hoping these little gems arrive in Kansas! We were hit pretty hard with the drought this year, but you never know! I adore sugar pumpkins. They are the best for soups, purees, and anything involving pumpkin out of the can. Thanks for the tutorial:)

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Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin September 10, 2012

Thanks for the tutorial! I definitely want to try this because I don’t think I’ve ever tried real fresh pumpkin before. I love the canned kind though! But actually according to owner of the farm where I worked last summer, a lot of the time canned pumpkin isn’t even real pumpkin – it’s actually made from some kind of squash!

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Adrienne J September 10, 2012

I love your photos in this post! The dark black/brown background contrasts so well with the bright pumpkins. I have too many favorite ways to enjoy pumpkin but your smoothie is on my list to try!

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Laura September 10, 2012

Where are you finding these pumpkins?? I know you’re near me…and the burlington mall market is seriously lacking in squash of any kinds so far….Can you help a girl out who is desperate for pumpkins in her brekkie (and butternut squash mac n cheeze)?

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Linda September 10, 2012

My absolutely favoritest favorite way to enjoy a sugar pumpkin is stuffed with apples, walnuts, cinnamon and a tiny bit of butter and baked. When it is done baking, you scoop the stuffing and meat of the pumpkin out and mash it all together. It’s sweet from the apples, crunchy from the nuts and buttery smooth.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 11, 2012

sounds incredible!

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Katie September 11, 2012

I love roasting pumpkins at home! Don’t forget that those larger carving pumpkins are food too – I always roast my carving pumpkins. I get all soap boxey about this every year because I hate seeing so much food go to waste, and I always try to ‘rescue’ as many carving pumpkins as I can get my hands on. I roast ‘em, puree the flesh, and freeze it in 1 cup portions for using in baking and smoothies throughout the year.

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Ksenija September 11, 2012

Great tutorial! I always make my own pumpkin puree since you cannot buy it in stores here in Germany. But I actually always cooked it up portion sized – just as much as I needed and never tried to bake the whole thing. I am afraid that it spoils to fast. Do you know how long you can keep pumpkin puree in the fridge?

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Ama September 11, 2012

Not sure about the fridge, but have you tried freezing it? I don’t freeze purée, but I cook it like Angela says then cut off the skin and cube the pumpkin and freeze the cubes in bags after I suck the air out with a straw. That’s my tip for vacuum-sealing your freezer bags so your produce doesn’t get all icy! I freeze in one-cup servings in each bag so I just take out one bag or whatever I need and let it come to room temp before pureeing. I’m sure you can freeze purée too, that’s just what I do since sometimes I cook with chunks too. Try it!!

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Ksenija September 12, 2012

Thanks for the hint :) gonna try this next time!

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Lori Rix September 11, 2012

I made pumpkin pie this way last year. Never from a can again!!

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LizforaDay September 11, 2012

That is so simple. Thanks for the recipe. :)

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Dannii @ Hungry Healthy Happy September 11, 2012

Thanks for the tutorial!

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Brittany @ twosaucysisters September 11, 2012

Julie and I are so excited that pumpkin season is here! We usually use the canned stuff, because we’ve had trouble finding sugar pumpkins in our local grocery store in the past, but this post has given us renewed motivation to track them down!

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Sonal September 11, 2012

Yummm! Nothing welcomes autumn like a good pumpkin dish! :) Thanks for the tutorial, we don’t get canned pumpkin over here so this will be a good way to make all the dishes that require pumpkin :)

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sondra September 11, 2012

This came at a great time as I have about 2 dozen sugar pumpkins in the garden ready for harvest! Thanks. =)

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Michele Sparrow September 11, 2012

I love this post. It is so simple and here I have been so intimated that I never even looked into it before! Thank you for posting this, Angela and I can’t wait to see your next recipe using the pumpkin puree! :-)

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Lauren @ Oatmeal after Spinning September 11, 2012

Wow- that puree looks so beautiful and buttery- I could eat it up with a spoon!
And THAT is probably my favorite way to enjoy fresh pumpkin. :)

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Judee @ Gluten Free A-Z September 11, 2012

wow. It looks easy. I would never have thought to make my own, but it’s so much healthier than the canned versions. Who knows what chemicals are lurking in the cans anymore!!!

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Lori @ Forkful of Freedom September 11, 2012

What a helful post! Thanks for including all the photos. I will have to try this out once the weather cools down.

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Ariel September 11, 2012

These photos are really attractive — the dark background highlights the pumpkin (without being to “spooky”). I like to add pumpkin puree to chilis — just a 1/2 cup seems to add a real depth to the flavors.

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Andrea September 11, 2012

Sugar pumpkin week?! I’m alll in for that one. My yard is packed with sugar pumpkins right now… my plants went wild!

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sarah September 11, 2012

Hey Angela,
I am jealous because I am reading this after just baking 2 loaves of pumpkin bread using canned pumpkin. It was an emergency craving! Next time I will def try your method and maybe try freezing some…
On an unrelated note, I was at a Costco today in Kitchener and they were demoing Vitamix’s. I was swooning over them and listening to the saleslady as she made lots of veg and vegan samples–that I could actually try. She was talking to the crowd about recipes and said there are lots of great food blogs that use them daily. She asked me if I’d ever heard of Oh She Glows! I said ‘why of course! I follow her every post!’ hehe. So just thought I ‘d let you know you got some good advertising today!!!

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Kelly September 11, 2012

I left a comment yesterday that appeared to disappear into the interweb-nothingness…
Here in Australia we don’t get pumpkin in a can, it’s always do-it-yourself :)
If I want pumpkin puree I would slice then cut the skin off the pumpkin once it’s in smaller more manageable pieces, then just steam or boil, drain and puree – it’s quicker than roasting, and can be kept in small portions in the freezer quite well.
For roasting, I also slice into chunks first (and cut the skin off if the pieces are destined for being mixed into something like risotto), coat with olive oil and chopped herbs (rosemary or marjoram are good, or nutmeg – again, depends on the end destination), and roast so that the individual pieces each get a nice roasty edge. Delish!

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Kelly September 11, 2012

P.S. I love my “P alliteration” risotto – pieces of pumpkin roasted with flat-leaf parsley, and green peas mixed in to risotto, served with a handful of pine-nuts and some “parmesan” on top, and an extra piece of parsley as garnish to make it look fancy!

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Heather September 12, 2012

Can’t wait to try this! Can you freeze it by any chance? How long do you think it can stay?

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nikki September 13, 2012

I don’t know if anyone else has mentioned this (I just don’t have time to read through all the comments right now), but I roast my pie pumpkins whole. Just wash it, prick it with fork, and stick the whole thing in the oven. When it’s done, I slice it open, remove the strings and seeds, and just spoon out the flesh!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 13, 2012

I was wondering if that was an option! Glad to know it works. Is it easier to remove the “guts” doing it that way too? How long do you roast it for?

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Rachel @ The Vegan Mishmash September 13, 2012

This is perfect! I’ve been dreaming about the pumpkin curry recipe in The Vegan Table, but I wanted to do it with freshly pureed pumpkin. Thanks so much!!!

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Riley September 15, 2012

what if i dont have an oven :(? how could i cook this ?? steaming it ? :)

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Kim September 16, 2012

PUMPKIN SKINS RECIPE….

Begin with a preheated oven set at 325 degrees F
One medium size pumpkin (baking kind or even the ornamental jack-o-lantern kind which is what I use)
2 Tbls butter
3 Tbls salt
1/4 cup molasses or honey
2 Tbls cinnamon
1 tsp each of nutmeg, ginger, cloves
1/2 tbs cayenne (optional)

Halve the pumpkin cutting off the stem, then scoop out the seeds. (Save these seeds for roasting later.) Place the pumpkin shell-side-up on a baking sheet with a few spoonfuls of water. Bake at 325 for an hour, checking to make sure the top on the shell is not burning on the upper electrical element. Remove the shell and scrape out most but not all of the cooked pumpkin to use in muffins, pies and such. Leave about a 1/4 to 12 inch of pumpkin meat on the skin. Slice the skin into strips about 1 inch wide from the top to bottom along the natural lines in shell. Lay them flat, and then spread the butter and spices evenly.

Return the strips to the oven for 2 hours at a very low baking temperature of 150. Remove and enjoy them hot or store in the refrigerator and use as a side dish or appetizer

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Kim September 16, 2012

Oh and I use almond butter for the skins and its really yummy!

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Manon September 19, 2012

thanks for the recipe. Tried it yesterday and I loved it. Now i only need to figure out what to do with it ;) I guess I’ll try your pumpkin butter

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kristle October 6, 2012

i must have gotten the wrong kind of pumpkin :( its almost 3 lbs and thought it was a sugar pumpkin, but me or my boyfriend can NOT cut through it. oh well, next week at the farmers market i will ask for a sugar pumpkin specifically.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 7, 2012

aw I’m sorry to hear that! They can be tricky. I hope you have better luck next time :)

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Sara October 10, 2012

So I was thinking this morning that if you, Angela, were to create a pumpkin spice latte, I would melt! I don’t care what the agonizing process and preparations would have to be, but I can’t handle spending so much on pumpkin spice soy lattes… Oh my god, and with coconut whip cream… I’m so glad there are other pumpkin-obsessed people out there!

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veganexplosion October 11, 2012

yay! i absolutely will be using this tutorial! thank you.

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Nikki @ Road To Less Cake October 24, 2012

Thanks for the tutorial!

I can’t get canned pumpkin here in the UK at a good price.

I may have to try doing it myself now!

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Kathleen October 31, 2012

I am curiuos if you can use the puree to turn in to a pumpkin Powder or a pumpkin flour rather? And how would you go about doing this, it the process different?

Thank you!

kathleen

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Zarina Din November 1, 2012

I agree with one of your commentators that it is a great tutorial. I had tasted the pumpkin butter from Trader’s Joe which gives me an idea about the ingredients but not the complete recipe. So, your tutorial is a good tip.

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Barbara November 2, 2012

Pumpkin bread I used my pupree for. But looking for a soup recipe for pumpkin.

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Rick Kohut November 8, 2012

Great way to show how easy it is to roast these little guffers! You are always makin’ things easier for people. Nice work and thanks for this!

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Lisa November 8, 2012

My husband and I process quite a few pumpkins every year after Halloween. The local pumpkin patch gives us all we want every November 1st. A lot of them go to the cows next door, but about 15-20 big pumpkins end up on my porch to stare at me every time I pass by. When we get around to processing them, it’s an all day long ordeal that is completely worth it to have pumpkin puree year round. My husband chops the pumpkins up with a meat cleaver then scrapes out the seeds and stringy stuff. He then boils the pieces in our turkey cooker. All this is done outside which makes me very happy. When the pumpkin is soft, he drains the pot and brings me the bounty. I scrape the flesh from the skins, blend it in my food processer until smooth, and store it in freezer bags until I’m ready to use it. We love pumpkin soup, muffins, bread, smoothies, etc. My next endeavor is trying my hand at pumpkin butter. Wish me luck.

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Renée November 8, 2012

This is a great tutorial!! Wonderful pictures too (I have got to learn how to take better pictures). I just posted a recipe tutorial for Homemade Pumpkin Butter, and linked this. Thanks you for taking the time to do this!

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Maria November 12, 2012

Great instructions–my pumpkin is in the oven right now!
Beauty tip: While the pumpkin is baking, you can rub some raw pumpkin juice on your face to do a homemade pumpkin enzyme mask! Leave on 15ish minutes (or while you’re cleaning the seeds) and your skin will be smoother and glow more, promise. It’s a great way to use ALL the pumpkin parts. :)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) November 13, 2012

Ah that’s so cool! I will have to try it.

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