The Pumpkin Problem
Pumpkin is everywhere this time of year – people are going to pumpkin patches, carving jack-o-lanterns, and enjoying a warm pumpkin spice latte. What a time to be alive! But have you ever cooked a whole pumpkin?
I didn’t cook a whole pumpkin until last year. On Halloween, I was looking for something fun and fall-like to do. I was far away from my hometown, living in California, and the weather still felt like summer. So at the farmers’ market, I scooped up a tiny little pumpkin asking the vendor, “So what can I do with this guy?” The reply was.. “I don’t know, but let us know what you come up with!”
Well that meant, I had to come up with something. This farmers’ market trip was right before my last paddle board session of the year (shout out to Lake Kaweah), so Poppy and I had a few hours to think. I texted my friend from the middle of the lake and said something like, “Come join me, I am cooking a pumpkin, and that’s as far as I’ve gotten.” And then whole pumpkin recipe was born (side note: pairs well with red wine – thanks Sue).
Pumpkin 2.0: Cookin’ the WHOLE Thing
So this year, I wanted to take my pumpkin recipe a step further and use EVERY. SINGLE. PIECE. Cooking a whole pumpkin was SO simple, and there is so much you can do with one little thing. The recipe includes how to cook the whole pumpkin, one recipe to enjoy right away, and what to do with the rest of the parts (save it all and stay tuned).
For these recipes, you will want one of the smaller (but not nugget sized) sugar pumpkins. You can get them at a farmers’ market, pumpkin patch, or even Trader Joe’s!
Another important detail before cooking the whole pumpkin, is that you will want to check the placement of your oven racks – make sure the pumpkin will fit on the top rack (including the stem!) with the second one below. Your pumpkin will go directly on the top rack, and you will place a foil-covered pan on the bottom rack directly underneath the pumpkin to catch any drips.
Spice up your life
While your pumpkin is cooking, you can mix up my awesome pumpkin seasoning! I added it to a spice shaker I had, but you could also wash out an old one and use that, or just put it in a glass container and spoon it on. This can include sugar, or if you are like me – leave the sugar out (it will still taste yummy).
There’s more pumpkin where this came from..
I had so much fun coming up with these recipes! This one was approved by gluten and sugar eaters, so you know it’s good. Later this week and next, I will be posting all the recipes that came from the pumpkin – including soup, a smoothie, and a snack. Sign up here: bit.ly/free-recipes-yay and you’ll get an e-mail when part two is ready! Remember to separate all of the parts of the pumpkin and save them for the next part! Yes, even the guts, seeds, and skins. The flesh will be used for this part of the recipe and another soup as well (like I said, you can get a lot out of a little!)
As always, check out the shopping list at the bottom of this post. Let me know how your pumpkin turns out! Have you ever cooked a whole pumpkin before? Sugar or no sugar? Before you go, did you know – you can work with me! Sign up here.
How to Cook a Whole Pumpkin: Recipe 1
- 1 Whole Sugar Pumpkin (smallish, but not the hand sized nuggets)
- 1-2 tbs coconut oil
- 1 tbs cinnamon
- 1 tsp ginger
- 1/2 tbs pumpkin pie spice
- 1/4 tsp Himalayan salt
- Coconut sugar to taste (optional)
- 1. Rearrange oven racks so your pumpkin can fit on the top rack without hitting the top of the oven.
- 2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
- 3. Cover a rimmed baking sheet with foil
- 4. Clean pumpkin (I recommend with vinegar and a veggie brush) & rub with coconut oil
- 5. Place pumpkin in oven on top rack and foil covered pan beneath it on the bottom rack (to catch drips)
- 6. Cook for 1 hour.
- If you would like to eat some hot pumpkin right away, while the pumpkin is cooking, mix up the seasoning ingredients and put in a shaker (you can get them on amazon - see shopping list after post - or use a washed out spice shaker).
- When the pumpkin comes out of the oven, it should slice like butter with a kitchen knife. Cut along the lines into wedges and let cool for a few minutes.
- Peel the skins off (best when it's still warm, be careful not to burn yourself) and slice out guts and seeds. This will leave you with the flesh, which can be eaten right away with your seasoning mix or chopped/pureed and frozen for later.
- Top slices with cinnamon seasoning and serve with butter or coconut oil.
- Tip: save at least half of the flesh for a pumpkin soup, and the rest of the parts for more recipes! Pumpkin freezes well.