How to Cook a Jack-O-Lantern Pumpkin

A few weeks ago I read about how Crystal tried a pumpkin-cooking experiment using her crock pot and her oven to make pumpkin puree.  I had never thought to try cooking a pumpkin myself!  We bought two large pumpkins this year.  Oliver wore one as a Halloween costume, and I decided to try cooking the other one for pumpkin puree.

How to Cook a Jack-O-Lantern Pumpkin: Easy DIY step-by-step instructions for carving, pureeing, steaming, baking, seeds, and freezing!

First I wondered if you could use a Jack-O-Lantern for cooking, since Crystal used the smaller sugar pumpkins.  I found this very helpful article from the Green Cheapskate.  So I decided to give it a try!

1. If you plan to eat your Jack-O-Lantern pumpkin, cook it as soon as possible after carving, preferably within 24 hours.

2. Rinse your pumpkin and be sure that the surface is clean of any dirt, wax, or mold.

3. If your pumpkin has not been carved (like mine) cut out a “lid” and remove all of the pulp and seeds.  Set these aside for later.

4. Slice the sides of your pumpkin into sections.  Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 F for about 1 hour.  Remove from the oven and cool.  Remove the skin and slice in cubes or puree in a food processor.  Store in plastic freezer bags.

5. Remove the seeds from the pumpkin pulp, and set them aside.  Steam the pumpkin pulp on the stove top for about 30 minutes.  Puree in a food processor.  Store in plastic freezer bags.

6. Finally, rinse the seeds and remove any remaining pulp.  Dry the seeds and season with your favorite seasonings.  (I used Garlic & Herb Mrs. Dash).  Bake them on a lightly-oiled cookie sheet for about an hour, stirring every 20 minutes.  Or cook them in a spray-oiled skillet for for five minutes, stirring constantly.  Store in an air-tight container.

WOW!  I was impressed!  When I was done, I had 12 cups of cubed pumpkin, 10 cups of pureed pumpkin, and a batch of baked pumpkin seeds.  Mmm!  Needless to say, we’ve been eating pumpkin in EVERYTHING.  I’ve made Pumpkin Sausage Pasta, Liberian Pumpkin, Pumpkin (Winter Squash) Bars, Pumpkin Walnut Cookies, and those Pumpkin Seeds didn’t last long.  It has all been delicious.  But those recipes will have to wait for another day!

What new recipes or cooking techniques have you tried recently?

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15 Responses to “How to Cook a Jack-O-Lantern Pumpkin”

  1. […] Sausage Pasta Posted on November 19, 2011 by Jessica Pumpkin Sausage Pasta After cooking all that pumpkin and bagging it, I was excited to find some pumpkin recipes!  First on my list were Pumpkin Sausage […]

  2. […] Pumpkin (Winter Squash) Bars Posted on November 26, 2011 by Jessica Pumpkin (Winter Squash) Bars Naomi calls these Pumpkin Bars, “Cake.”  That should give you a clue to how they taste!  They taste great with a cup of tea, or as a not-too-sweet snack.  Although I definitely enjoyed them, I have a sweet tooth, and I think they might taste even better with a creamy icing, and maybe a sprinkling of nuts.  But they are still good, and a fun treat to make with all that cooked pumpkin! […]

  3. […] favorite parts were spooning out the insides, and lighting the candles.  After they went to bed, I steamed the pumpkin pulp for homemade pumpkin puree, and baked the seeds in the oven.  We’ve processed our pumpkins for the last three years, and we love eating all things […]

  4. […] Cook from Scratch (Food, Cookbook Review: Simply in Season, How to Cook a Jack-O-Lantern Pumpkin, Homemade […]

  5. […] How to Cook a Jack-O-Lantern Pumpkin […]

  6. […] How to Cook a Jack-O-Lantern Pumpkin […]

  7. ydelle says:

    this cooking the pumpkin turned out to be very good and helpful -added it to lots of things.

  8. lynda says:

    What do you do with the pumpkin pulp? I always thought to just throw it away?

  9. […] washing, slicing, and roasting the pumpkin, save it either in cubes or as a puree in freezer bags. The frozen pumpkin can be used in breakfast shakes or in baking savory pumpkin […]

  10. Jess says:

    I just saw a ton of large pumpkins at Walmart for $1 each! Now I want to try this. I’ll just have to find the time. Thanks!

  11. Cletus Hunnicutt says:

    A couple of years ago, I tried cooking a Jack-o-lantern a couple of different ways. The first try was breaded and fried chunks. Not terrible, but the flesh was a little “gelatinous” in a way. Strange but edible. My second, and now exclusive way of cooking it…I fill a large saute pan with chunks of the Jack-o-lantern and cook them down in a little olive oil and salt and pepper over low to medium heat, stirring occasionally. After 20 to 30 minutes I crank it up and saute it for about 10 or more minutes until it gets soft, to the point of turning to mush and starts to get lightly browned. Then I check to make sure there’s enough salt and pepper and sometimes melt a tablespoon or two of butter into it, not necessary though. Sometimes I add a chopped onion while I’m cooking it. Talk about a savory comfort food! It’s delicious! I can make up a plate of it for myself as a meal on its own or use it as a side dish. I don’t even bother to remove the skin anymore because it becomes tender as it cooks and it adds a little more nutty flavor as it browns and extra texture. Now I buy two or three Jack-o-lanterns every year just for cooking. To store it I simply cut it into 1 to 2 inch+ chunks and fill up gallon sized freezer bags and freeze it. It’s kept just fine for up to a year this way in the deep freeze. I dump some frozen chunks into the pan and get started. Of course I roast or saute the seeds, but when I first carve a pumpkin, those “guts” are all mine, my special treat. I saute that up on its own and it’s even more flavorful than the rest.

  12. Jessica says:

    Can you use it for pumpkin pie? I have read on other posts, that you need to drain a lot of the water from the puree. How would I do that? Also, I grew a pumpkin, and don’t remember what type it was. It is smaller than a jack o lantern, but bigger than a sugar pumpkin. Think I do it the same way as the jack o lantern?

    • Jessica says:

      Yes, but before baking (or any recipe where you don’t need the additional water), put your pumpkin in a sieve over a bowl/pot first. The excess water will drip out easily. It doesn’t take very long. You can also do this before you freeze it to save time later. Sieves are easy to come by. We picked up one up at the grocery store for a few dollars at the most.

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