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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
Into the compost goes the skin. Unless you’re Eric, you might put it in a smoothie…(I joke, I joke).
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!
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?
How long will the pumpkin puree stay good in the fridge for?
Hey Taylor, It should be good in an airtight container for up to 1 week. You can freeze it, I think, too!
My pumpkins leaked out a delicious sweet, oily nectar. Hope this is a good sign.
I have a recipe for stuffed pumpkin that I’ve done so much I’ve worn off the last line of the recipe card and was looking for the time and temperature to roast a pumpkin. Whole. Not what I looked for here, but some interesting ideas… thanks!
DO I need to wash the painted faces from Halloween off the skin first?
You should, yes. I wash all mine first
Can’t wait we are growing Sugar Pie Pumpkins .. First time Growing them, We have 2 so far that is growing like crazy getting bigger by the day. Going to try some of the recipes for them..
Hey Missy, so cool you’re growing your own! I’d love to hear what you think of the pumpkin purée recipes when you try them out. My Pumpkin Gingerbread Muffins are lovely for the cooler months.
I find using a grapefruit spoon that has the jagged edge to it scoops easily squash or the pumpkin. I also have a grapefruit knife from pampered chef that is Great for releasing the seeds and strings from zucchini, butternut squash, pumpkin or any other firm vegetable do you need to remove the insides.
Hi! I can’t find the roasted pumpkin seed recipe! Please link it! I just bought 2 sugar pumpkins at a pumpkin patch and I need good recipes for them!
Hey Joanna, In this blog post, I’ve actually written the recipe throughout the post. :) Sorry for the confusion!
My 4 or 5 mounds of little sugar pumpkins yielded 88 pumpkins this year. I’m rendering now. Like the tip about the 15 minute pre-roast /will try it. I really enjoyed gifting pumpkins to the neighbor kids and gave them a little book, instructions and seeds for growing their own for next year. PS I don’t carve pumpkins, I draw faces on them so I always have them for pies and the seeds for snacking.
Thank you I have you cook book love it!
Id like to say thank you 💖 I was having a really really crummy day and needed something to cheer me up. I remembered I need to roast my sugar pumpkin before it went bad but couldn’t remember how and came across your recipe here. I was so sweet with a touch of silly fun Herr and there, it gave me a much needed smile and giggle. I’m definitely saving this so I know to coke back and check out your other recipes. Thank you again for brightening my day 🥰
My pumpkins are very stringy. Hardly no meat in them. What happened?