“Sugar pie, honey bunch…you know I love you!” I think the song is definitely fitting here. Even the name of the group who made it famous, The Temptations is fitting here. “I’m tied to your apron strings, and there’s nothing that I can do.” I’m talking about Sugar Pie pumpkins!
Powerhouses of nutrition, beacon of fall flavor. It’s no wonder the pumpkin has been an important food staple in American culture. This year, skip the can and roast your own to keep on hand throughout the holidays and into the winter to tempt your tummy and your soul!
In today’s post, I’ll update some methods I previously posted here:
and provide some new ones to tempt you with Sugar Pie pumpkins!
The easiest way I’ve found to roast pumpkins, is simply:
- Carefully cut around the stem and remove it.
- Halve the pumpkin, and scoop out the stringy flesh and seeds.
- Place halved and scooped pumpkins cut side down on a parchment lined roasting pan.
- Don’t worry about crowding your pan if you’re roasting more than one pumpkin, it will keep the halves moister and they’ll roast more quickly.
- There is no need to cover them. Place them directly into a cold oven and set it to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Roast the pumpkins for 45 minutes.
- Turn the heat off and leave the pumpkins in for up to another 30 minutes. When the tip of a sharp knife gives easily when inserted, the pumpkins are done.
- Remove from the oven, let cool completely.
Within two hours of removing from the oven, peel the pumpkin, mash it (I use my potato masher, you could also load it into a food processor and puree it) and store immediately in the refrigerator in a covered container or sealed ziptop bags. Use within one week.
You can use home roasted Sugar Pie pumpkin puree in any recipe calling for canned pumpkin. If your recipe lists the amount out by weight, use a food scale to weigh out an equal amount of Sugar Pie pumpkin puree.
To freeze, store the mashed pumpkin in a sealed container, leaving a little headspace for expansion. Or seal in ziptop bags in pre-measured amounts (either 1-2 cup size servings, or weigh out according to recipe size, 15 ounces for a standard pumpkin pie recipe on the can). Use frozen pumpkin puree within 6 months.
Don’t throw away the seeds! They are smaller and a little more delicate than jack-o-lantern style and you can eat them roasted with the skins on. In fact, they are also healthier this way, as some of the mineral content lies in the membrane between the skin and seed. They are best eaten fresh from the oven, so roast them in small batches.
Rinse and dry the freshly scooped seeds, then store them in a freezer container or freezer bags for up to one year. Remove from the freezer and let them thaw in the refrigerator completely before roasting.
For best fall flavored seeds, roast some of your seeds fresh from a carving session! Leave some of the pumpkin pulp on before roasting. The sugars in the pulp caramelize as they roast, providing a natural flavor boost. If you want to leave pulp on some of the seeds for storage, it’s fine. Just use those frozen seeds up within 6 months.
Pumpkin Spiced Seeds
1 cup fresh pumpkin seeds
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon melted butter or coconut oil
2 teaspoons demerara sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice
Mix together and spread out on a parchment lined baking sheet.
Roast in an oven preheated to 325 degrees Fahrenheit for about 25-35 minutes, stirring after 15 minutes. Remove when seeds are light golden brown. If you hear them start to “snap” in the oven, they’re just about ready!
Let cool and eat immediately! If you must store them, put them in a sealed jar or airtight container in the refrigerator. When you’re ready to snack again, place them on a baking sheet in a warm oven (275 degrees) for a few minutes to crisp them up.
What else can you do with pumpkin puree? Reserve several cups for making pumpkin butter. Give it away for gifts, or enjoy it at home!
Sugar Pie Pumpkin Butter
2 cups cooked mashed Sugar Pie pumpkin
1/4 cup apple cider
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch each of salt, nutmeg, ginger and allspice
Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Immediately turn the heat to low and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. Let cool, taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. Store in a jar, topping it off with another dollop of maple syrup. Eat within one week.
The last of my Sugar Pie Trio of Treats is Sugar Pie Pumpkin Sugar!
Sugar Pie Pumpkin Sugar
1 cup mashed Sugar Pie Pumpkin
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice
Preheat oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Spread mashed pumpkin out on top of parchment to about 1/4 inch thickness. Place in the oven and bake for at least an hour.
Pumpkin should be completely dry within 2 hours. If it isn’t, turn the oven off but leave the pumpkin in the oven while it cools. Remove from oven and let cool completely.
Break dried pumpkin into pieces small enough to fit in the food processor. Place in the food processor with the sugar, spices and salt and pulse until fine.
Store in a sealed jar in the pantry. Add to cookie, muffin, pancake or waffle batters for subtle pumpkin flavor. Stir a teaspoon or two into coffee, tea or hot cocoa. Whip a couple of tablespoons with heavy cream for pumpkin spiced whipped cream.
Beware of Sugar Pie pumpkin impostors! I have noticed some retailers in my area marketing small pumpkins of questionable variety as pie pumpkins. They sell them cheaply. When you get them home and try to cut into them you realize you’ve been duped! You need a hatchet to get them open only to find tough, stringy inedible pulp on the inside.
Sugar pie and other smaller pie varieties should be relatively lightweight and have a less dense, shinier skin than their jack-o-lantern counterparts.
The stem will be thinner and a darker shade of green as well.
If the stem is gone, check the blossom end.
It will have a smaller diameter (dime size or smaller) than the larger pumpkin varieties. If in doubt, find your friendly produce associate at the grocer and ask.
For more information about pumpkin storage, including why you should use or freeze your pumpkin puree and not attempt to can mashed pumpkin at home, visit the National Center for Home Food Preservation Fall Tips.