Practical food tips for parents from a RD and mom of three

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Preparing sugar pumpkins for baking

Fall is here! We've been enjoying apples, squash, and pumpkins as we celebrate the change of seasons. I love baking with pumpkin during the fall and winter. Usually I buy canned pumpkin, but this year I pureed sugar pumpkins for baking.

Sugar pumpkins are smaller than the ones you carve into jack-o-lanterns. They have the right water content for baking and are available now at farms and in the grocery store.

It took a bit of work, but Lila and I prepared four medium-sized sugar pumpkins. I decided to bake the pumpkins to avoid peeling. Here's what we did:
  1. Cut the pumpkins in half, scoop out the pulp and seeds, and remove the stem.
  2. Place the pumpkin halves (cut side down) in a shallow baking dish and cover them with foil.
  3. Bake at 375 degrees for about 1 ½ hours or until very tender. Allow pumpkins to cool.
  4. Scoop out pumpkin flesh and puree or mash it. Strain the mixture if you want your pumpkin to be very smooth.
  5. Portion pureed pumpkin into bags for the freezer. A can of pumpkin contains 1 ¾ cups, so I used that measure to make portions.

If you'd rather boil them, you can take the pumkin halves, peel them, and cut them into small chunks. Cover  the pumpkin pieces with water and boil until tender, then drain and puree or mash.

There you go, mashed pumpkin that is ready for your favorite pie, bread, or muffin recipe (or to feed to your baby)!

We cleaned off the pumpkin seeds, seasoned them with vegetable spray and salt, and roasted them at 325 degrees for about 30 minutes.

Today's tip: Prepare for winter baking by preparing pumpkin this fall.

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