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My Crock Pot and Oven Pumpkin-Cooking Experiment

Oven-Pumpkin-Cooking

For the last few years, I’ve always just purchased canned pumpkin at Aldi or on clearance after Thanksgiving. And I’ve always had a decent supply of it on hand by buying extras when I found a good deal.

Recently, however, my supply was dwindling and, since our Aldi doesn’t have canned pumpkin in stock yet, I’ve been having trouble justifying spending almost $2 a can for pumpkin. But Fall isn’t the same without baking pumpkin recipes, so what was I going to do?

My friend tipped me off to a sale Walmart was having on pie pumpkins last week so we bought five with the intention of cooking them and pureeing them for the freezer. I decided to do a little experiment and compare how much time and effort was involved in cooking them in the crock pot versus the oven.

How to Cook Pumpkins in the Crock Pot

(original recipe from The Happy Housewife)

I sliced the softer pumpkins (leaving the harder ones to bake whole so that I didn’t cut off my finger in the process of trying to saw into them!).

Then de-seeded them with an ice cream scoop.

What a mess!

Finally, I put them in the crock pot with a cup of water and turned it on high for four hours.

For much more detailed instructions, see The Happy Housewife’s post on how to cook a pumpkin in the crock pot.

How to Roast Pumpkins Whole in the Oven

For the pumpkins that I cooked whole, I just washed them off and coated them with coconut oil and stuck them on a baking sheet and roasted them for a little over an hour at 400 degrees.

See more detailed instructions on how to roast a whole pumpkin without cutting it here.

The Final Results

The oven pumpkins were much easier to do (no cutting involved and they were ready a lot more quickly). The seeds and pulp came out easily and I just scraped out the pumpkin with the ice cream scoop.

The crock pot pumpkins were a little more time-consuming upfront because you had to mess with cutting and scraping out the hard pulp. They also took longer and I felt like they weren’t as sweet and well-cooked when finished. (Of course, maybe they just weren’t as good of pumpkins, either?)

After scooping out the fruit, I pureed it in the Vita-Mix for a minute and then scooped one-cup servings into individual baggies and froze them in a big ziptop bag.

Well, I didn’t quite freeze all of it since I used some right away in the Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal–a recipe we’re looking forward to having for breakfast tomorrow!

All totaled, I got nine cups of pumpkin from the five pie pumpkins, plus seeds to roast. I’m not sure that the time involved made it worth the small savings, but it was a fun project to tackle anyway!

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147 Comments

  • CC says:

    We must be on the same wavelength today, I just published my favorite recipe for pumpkin cranberry bread which uses pumpkin puree! Let me know what you think! http://www.thecleverclipper.com/
    2011/10/06/pumpkin-cranberry-bread/

  • CC says:

    Sorry, link got cut up, but you can look it up under “Clever in the Kitchen”

  • Amy says:

    I know what you mean. I tried roasting my own pumpkin for puree two years ago and felt that the time it took didn’t justify the minimal cost savings. Plus, it turned my hands orange 🙂

    • Heather says:

      I saved about $1.20 per can by using fresh pumpkin instead of buying a can.

      • liZ says:

        Doing the math, sounds like a good deal. You saved $10.80 total and no additional additives. My cousin just gave us a home grown pumpkin. Hmm! I guess I know what I will do now. 😉

  • Diana says:

    Ooh, post your pumpkin-seed roasting method if you get a chance! I coat mine in a little olive oil, salt, and pepper and I like it as well as popcorn. I’d love to know how you do it!

  • Emma K says:

    What are the long necked pumpkins called that are more white than orange? I bought one of those last year and had better luck using that for baking than the regular pumpkins because there was more meat and less seeds in it.

    I haven’t tried this year yet. Thanks for the comparison of two ideas, I hadn’t see the crockpot idea.

    • Diane says:

      That brings back memories. My grandmother always bought a white/pale orange pumpkin to cook at Thanksgiving for use in her pumpkin pies. She said they were better than the dark orange ones. I’ve cooked pumpkin since she passed on a few years ago, but have come to the conclusion that it’s easier to just buy a can because it comes out cheaper by the time you count electricity used in cooking it and your time preparing it. While I am a big advocate of all things home prepared this is one area you truly can’t tell the difference.

    • Amy Zuck says:

      The best pumpkin pie I ever had used long neck pumpkins yum!

    • Erin says:

      If I am thinking of the same pumpkins, I call them Pennsylvania Dutch Crooked Neck Pumpkins or some variation of that. I think they are sweeter than “pie pumpkins”.

    • Danielle B says:

      Thanks for the tip! I’m going to look for these in the stores now.

      Love your name too. 😉 It’s my youngest daughter’s name!

    • Danielle B says:

      I did a little research, and found this website explaining about cheese pumpkins and long-necked squash. Hope it helps!

      http://www.liseed.org/rambl_cheesemoschata.html

  • sheryl says:

    Wow, good for you! I’ve never had real pumpkin before, always the can stuff. Can you taste a difference? Or does it taste about the same?

    • That’s what I had wondered too!

      I also wondered if there would be a nutritional difference between using whole pumpkin and freezing it versus the canned stuff.

      • sarah says:

        According to my nutation lady canned pumpkin has higher levels of vitamin A. That’s my excuse for buying canned 🙂

        • Shelly Smith says:

          I have also heard this before, that the canned versions have HIGHER nutritional value than home-made pumpkin puree?! Don’t know why, but that’s what I read!

      • Teri says:

        I’ve been cooking and freezing pumpkin for many years. To us, it tastes a whole lot better! 🙂 It’s worth the effort.

    • I don’t think so. Also, I like pureeing my own because it doesn’t sit in a can for who knows how long. Besides, it doesn’t really have a taste. When you use it in baking/cooking, you add cinnamon, nutmeg, and pumpkin pie spice a lot of the time.

    • Deb H. says:

      Yes, we taste the difference! We were shocked the first time I make pumpkin bread with real pumpkin. Now we can’t imagine going back to the store-canned pumpkin!

    • Danielle B says:

      Fresh pumpkin has more of an “earthy” taste, but in a great way, in my family’s opinion. I remember the first pumpkin pie I made from fresh pumpkin. The recipe didn’t call for quite enough sugar, but it was still wonderful. Very different from canned pumpkin.
      Also, fresh pumpkin tends to have a bit more water content then what you get in the can. So, if you’re using fresh pumpkin in a recipe that calls for canned pumpkin, adjust any additional liquid (like water or evaporated milk) amount down a little bit.

      • Erin says:

        I just cooked pumpkin this weekend and I set mine over a mesh strainer with a paper towel for about an hour after pureeing to remove some of the water. It seemed to work great – now just need to find the time to use some of it 🙂

    • My dad buys pumpkins and bakes them for our Thanksgiving pies every year. I can DEFINITELY taste the difference. The “made from scratch” version is so much richer and creamier, I think. I’ve made pumpkin pies from a can in non-pumpkin season and while they’re good, my whole family agrees they are better fresh.

  • Mary says:

    Last year I cooked the pumpkin we had on our front porch (we never carved it) It wasn’t a pie pumpkin but a large one so it took hours and hours to cook in the oven. I didn’t think you could roast them whole so I spent 30 + minutes trying to cut the rock hard pumpkin up. Even after hours in the oven it still wasn’t completely cooked so the next day I cooked cut the partially cooked pumpkin into small pieces and finished cooking them in the crockpot. I still had to puree the pumpkin after all of that.

    I didn’t seem worth it at the time, but the pumpkin was going in the trash otherwise so I guess it was worth the effort.

    • I tried that, too, when I pureed my own a few weeks ago. I decided it is better to buy smaller pumpkins, or next time if I can only find “regular” pumpkins, that I’m going to get really small ones. It’s not worth the “wrestling” match with the big pumpkin!

    • Rae says:

      I have used jack-o-lantern pumpkins before but it goes much quicker in the microwave. I just sawed it in half, scooped out the seeds, put it in a large glass bowl with some water in it, covered it with a damp towel and microwaved it until done (I think it may have been 8-10 minutes?). Then took it out and did the same with the other half. That thing made so many cups of pumpkin puree that I had to freeze a bunch in one cup portions lol.

  • Jenni Dill says:

    Can I ask what the savings was? How much did the whole pie pumpkins cost vs canned pumpkin? I wanted to make some pumpkin recipes this week, and had to buy some cans at our local (small) grocery store and paid $2.79 a can for three cans! I nearly cried! I would love to make my own pumpkin puree, if it was cheaper.

    • Stephanie says:

      I can’t even find pumpkin in any form around here.

    • Danielle B says:

      Small sugar pumpkins are currently $0.59/lb. at Wal-Mart here in Virginia.

    • Amanda says:

      I just did my first pie pumpkin last week and it turned out great! I paid $2 for a pie pumpkin and got the equivalent of 2.5 cans out of it. I saw cans for $2 at the store this week, and went a bought 2 more pie pumpkins! I personally think it’s worth the extra effort.

    • Rhoda says:

      I can’t give you exact numbers as I haven’t compared in years, but one area many are skipping to factor in is the pumpkin seeds. Have you priced those lately? Not only are the seeds loaded with lots of good stuff for us, they are easy to prepare. I usually buy the carving pumpkins as they are easier to cut, are just as good to eat, and you get a lot more pumpkin pulp and seeds per pumpkin, plus they are cheaper to purchase than the baking ones.

  • Yea! I’m so glad it worked for you. I puree my own, too. No more canned for us! I think that I’m going to do another batch or so very soon…before I can’t get pumpkins anymore. A lot of my Thanksgiving/Christmas recipes call for pumpkin, too. It freezes so well, and last night I also made the Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal, and had forgotten to set out some puree. So, I put it in the microwave for about 2 minutes, and it was soft enough to measure out. I have heard you can substitute pumpkin puree for oil in some recipes, much like you would applesauce.

    I love cinnamon/sugar roasted seeds, and also the traditional salt ones, too. So good!

  • Denise says:

    Thanks for the post – love it. I usually cook mine in the oven after cutting up so I can roast the seed. We grow pumpkin in the garden, so I have to make sure I use it up. After it’s cooked I dehydrate most of it and grind it into powder to reconstitute it when I want it. Its so easy to store, fits in a really small space and doesn’t require any energy (like a freezer).

  • AnneJisca says:

    I’ve never bought canned pumpkin, I just make my own. But it is a lot of work! It’s worth it for me because I can’t get a good deal on them like you can though. 🙂

    I love the idea of cooking it whole! I’ll definitely be trying that this year! 🙂 Seems like a whole lot less work!

  • I do this all the time with orange squash. Cutting them is sometimes too hard for me;0! So I wash them and put them in the oven in a glass dish with some water and bake away;)

    It’s so easy to scoop out the flesh after it’s baked!

  • Cathy Harper says:

    I PROMISE you will be thankful you did the work for the fresh pumpkins! The flavor is so much better than canned! Plus, you’ve eliminated all those preservatives! I have never gone back to canned pumpkin since I used fresh. Even freezing the pumpkin is way better than canned!! My two cents.

    Cathy

  • Trish M. says:

    I’ve been canning lately. Hmmm…. Consider me inspired!

    • Erin says:

      FYI: Due to its density, pumpkin is not approved by the USDA for home canning.

      • angela r says:

        My mom has canned pumpkin for years… and now I do it. I’m not sure what it means by “due to it’s density”… can you explain that? we have always got along fine with it. I do the oven roasting method… chunk it and can it… puree it when I’m ready to use it.

        • Erin says:

          Sorry, my comments should have said “pumpkin puree and pumpkin butter” is not approved by the USDA for home canning.

          Based on my reading the chunks can be canned at home.

          http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/publications/uga/pumpkin_butter.html

          • Andrea says:

            The FDA has allowed many dangerous drugs and food additives to enter the marketplace. I’m not really concerned about their opinion; people have been home canning pumpkin for centuries.

          • Erin says:

            The FDA and USDA are distinct departments with different missions. Both have made errors in the past.

            While you may have already formed your opinion, the link above gives other blog readers the opportunity to make an informed decision for themselves.

  • Cort says:

    Oh I def. want to try this. I love to roast everything, I find it brings out a nice caramel type flavor to veggies. I have never seen pumpkins roasted whole. Another great thing about roasting is that is always seems so much less messy. Its really hands off.
    I remember asking my mom how she would always get a nice roast on the table in the middle of the week and her telling me it was one of the easiest things to prepare, a little salt and pepper and into the oven. The oven takes care of everything else, not a ton of pans, instant delish frangrance in the air, and some nice warmth in the cooler months.
    It really is one of my favorite methods of cooking!

    • Heather says:

      Yes! Especially roast chicken. Salt and pepper, pop in the oven, and you just have to wait until it’s done. Don’t know why more people don’t do it. I made one once with a roommate, and she thought I was a genius or something. Not really!

      • Cort says:

        I know so much better than the rotisserie chickens at the store and much less expensive. I put cut up onions and lemons in the cavity too. It smell sooooo good and tastes sooooo good to. I think it is so much more moist as well! I even roast chicken breasts.
        Totally easy and awesome food for company too!

      • Rachael says:

        I just roasted a chicken for the first time, too. It was delicious and an unbelievable bargain for how many meals it ended up making.

  • Kim B says:

    I’m so glad you posted this. I’ve been trying to decide if I want to tackle roasting my own pumpkins or not. I was only comparing the price of the pumpkin, though, and forgot about the added benefit of getting seeds to roast. Hmm… time to rethink my conclusions maybe?

  • Valerie says:

    Would it be worth the cost savings if you grew your own pumpkins instead of buying them?

    • Danielle B says:

      Growing your own pumpkins isn’t going to save you any money if you factor in your time and energy. However, if you like gardening and growing your own food (I know I do!) then it’s well worth the investment, especially if you use heirloom seeds (non-hybird, non-GMO). Then you can save seeds from your healthiest, biggest and/or sweetest pumpkins each year and continue to replant them.
      That being said, pumpkins are picky growers. They require full sunlight, lots of space to stretch those beautiful vines out, and they have to be watered regularly, yet the soil can’t stay overly saturated. Any types of drought or irregular moisture can completely ruin your crop.
      Here are a few links in case you’d like to learn more:
      http://www.pumpkinpatchesandmore.org/growingpumpkins.php
      http://startabackyardfarm.com/chickens/pumpkins/

      If you don’t mind or even enjoy the work of gardening and growing your own food, then pumpkins can be a great investment! It’s a wonderful feeling to walk into your own little pumpkin patch during the fall! 🙂

      Hope that helps!

      • Andrea says:

        It depends…when I was a kid, we threw a few seeds on the old manure pile and let them go. We had dozens of pumpkins with hardly no effort.

        • Danielle B says:

          Then you were very lucky! 🙂

          I have a friend that threw cantalope seeds and rinds out into a wooded area in the very back of her yard. The next year they harvested a pretty large crop of cantalopes, even though they did nothing to it. Doesn’t mean that the rest of us could just throw our cantalope remains out into our backyards and reap the harvest they did. It’s one of those things that could probably be repeated somewhere, but most people that are going to attempt the project need to understand their soil, sunlight and climate, and plan accordingly, especially if they’re growing their own food in an attempt to save money.

  • holly says:

    Thanks for this info. I was wondering about the crockpot vs oven since I have 15 pie pumpkins from my garden.

    Valerie- I think I paid 1.95 for the seeds from a garden catalog if I remember right. From those seeds I had 15 pie pumpkins.

  • Heather says:

    We grew our own last year for the first time, and so did my own for the first time. Now I know why my mother only did it once the whole time I was growing up! A whole lot of work, and I wasn’t that pleased with the results. I used the oven method. Maybe if I didn’t have back problems I wouldn’t have minded the work so much. Ours had not much flavor or color, but that was probably due to not enough sun in our backyard. Then you factor in the $6 of spray I had to buy to keep the powdery mildew or whatever it was from killing the vines . . . .
    I may try again when/if my back ever stops hurting and we have a better spot to grow them, and the kids are older. And I am one who makes bread from flour I grind myself, and does all sorts of other whole-food cooking, but this pumpkin thing is not worth it to me now.

    Bottom line: $1.79 a can, which I used to think was outrageous, doesn’t seem like such a bad price now! I just bought a few cans this morning – first time the stores around here have had any since I ran out my freezer pumpkin. So there is that issue – if you grow and put up your own, you are not dependent on the stores.

  • Jen says:

    I love making butternut squash puree and using it just like I would pumpkin. I find the flavor is more pronounced, and when I make breads and muffins with it everyone just raves. I have seen squash puree in a can on a few rare occasions, but it’s not easy to find or cheap, so making my own is the best option.

    • beth b says:

      I mix butternut and pumpkin and the taste is much better. I buy tons of both from local farmers because that’s important to me. No idea how much money it saves but it’s worth it for me. The mess and time doesn’t bug me. Just one of those things everyone needs to decide for themselves, I guess. 🙁

    • Cheryl R says:

      We read somewhere that butternut squash is actually used commercially to make canned ‘pumpkin’ anyway. We grew both pie pumpkins and butternuts in our garden this year, so we will try both and see what we get!

  • Heather says:

    I got my pumpkin at Walmart for $3.88 and got over 7 pints of pumpkin and pumpkin butter out of it. It ended up being about 55 cents a can instead of $1.75, which to me is well worth the work… besides that I like doing that kind of “work”.

  • Ashley says:

    Where I live I’ve never noticed pureed pumpkin going on sale anyway. I’ve made my own pumpkin puree once. I’m not sure I could tell if there was a difference in the taste or not. It would be nice to have some puree in the freezer though.

  • I just made some in the crock pot. For some reason it never gets soft enough for me so I just did it in the crock pot so I can easily test it. He’s my favorite recipe for pumpkin – http://bit.ly/nlT1M7 Pumpkin Butterscotch Muffins!

  • Teresa says:

    Can you roast the seeds after you remove the oven cooked pumpkins or are they too mushy from cooking so long?

  • Lisa says:

    I think it’s worth the extra effort to do it yourself vs. buying a can. It tastes better, has more nutrition, and costs less. Plus I think there’s something “fun” and satisfying about making things from scratch instead of relying on a can. It feels like fall when it’s time to cook with pumpkins!!

  • We actually roasted our own for the first time this year and were very pleased with the result. I didn’t think we had ‘big’ pie pumpkins, but we ended up with just over 8 cups of puree from 2 pumpkins. It didn’t take too much work in my mine (although my husband cut the pumpkins in half for me…I may have a different opinion if I had that job!). But, we absolutely love the flavor! I have four more on the back porch that I still need to roast! Here’s the post I did yesterday on how we roasted ours: http://armstrongfamilyfare.com/how-to-roast-and-puree-pumpkin/

  • I also love the flavors of roasting! I just bought the same crockpot you have. I am finding that it is cooking things MUCH faster than recipes are stating. Guess I just have to get used to it.

  • Debbie says:

    I cook mine in the microwave. Cut in half, clean out seeds and strings and cook upside down about 10 minutes or til soft. Let them cool and scoop out the pumpkin. I don’t puree, but sometimes I mash them with a potato masher or use my hand mixer. I then freeze two cups at a time in freezer bags.

  • Becky says:

    When we were overseas this was one of the easiest ways to make baby food!

  • Sonya says:

    Thank you so much for posting this. I tried boiling some pumpkins a few years ago, it worked ok, but then they were so watery I had to drain them for hours in order to actually use them. Either of these look way better!

    • Sherri says:

      I had read that you could cook pumpkin like you cook potatoes, so I chunk my pumpkin, whack off the skin, and throw the chunks into a pot of boiling water, cooking until tender. Then I drain out the water, mash the pumpkin with a potato masher and I’m done. I’ve used the mashed pumpkin to make pies, breads, and muffins and they all turned out wonderful. Much prettier in color than canned pumpkin and there really is a difference in taste.

  • Sue says:

    I’d love a vita-mix but it seems they cost $300.00+! Anyone know where to get one cheaper or could recommend something similiar?

    • kelly says:

      My mom’s vitamix died last year. She bought it when I was a baby. I’m 33.

    • Stephanie says:

      We cannot afford a vita mix at this time (be sure the check ebay, craigslist for a good deal though!) and when our blender died I did a lot of research and we went with a Kitchen Aid 5 speed blender. It was $100 and I had a 20% off coupon. So far we love it. The container is carbonite, a type of plastic I guess, which I’d rather have glass but it purees food in a jiffy and works really well!

    • Stephanie says:

      I would LOVE a vita mix but the cost not so much 🙂 I did a lot of research when we needed to buy a new blender and the Kitchen Aid 5 speed blender had excellent reviews. It was 100 on sale, and I had a 20% off coupon (and a generous mom who went halves with me 🙂 ). So far I love it, it blends great and is super fast. The container is carbonite (a type of plastic I guess) and I would rather have glass, but that’s the only problem I had with it. Be sure to search craigslist and ebay for a good deal on a vita mix if you really want one!

    • Melissa Z says:

      We purchased a refurbished Vita-mix & it was less expensive than the new ones. It still wasn’t cheap, but it helped & it has the same warranty. It is dependable on whether they have any refurbished machines available (I think refurbished is any machine sent back to the co).

      • Michelle says:

        I have the Ninja blender and it is way better than what I thought was a good sturdy blender I had before this one. It is good enough for me and under $100 when I got it on sale.

  • Wendy says:

    Did you use the pumpkin skin on the roasted ones?

  • Karen C. says:

    Wow! Where did you learn that? I’m happy if I scoop pumpkin out of a can.;0)

  • Andrea says:

    I heard about this from a chef and it is truly easy. Remove the stem, cut a small hole in the top of a pumpkin, stick a few cinnamon sticks down it, then bake it at 350 till you can put a knife through it.

    After that it’s easy to cut and clean, easier than when you cut it in half and clean it before baking it.

  • Jennifer HS says:

    We love, love LOVE fresh pumpkin. I have already done about ten pumpkins this fall. My favorite varieties are Hubbard (orange, not blue), Boston Marrow, and Cinderella. I cut them up and cook them in my pressure cooker. Takes about ten-fifteen minutes per batch. We make lots of pumpkin recipes – soup, bread, pies, cookies, cupcakes, pancakes. I have never bought a can of pumpkin – and we can tell the difference. It’s true about the water. Some pumpkins have more water than others; therefore, you have to adjust your recipes.

  • kelly says:

    You MUST TRY THE CHEESE PUMPKIN. It is squatter with deeper ridges and lighter skin. I bought one pumpkin pie pumpkin from the farmers market and one cheese pumpkin from the pumpkin stand at the farmers suggestion. He sold me at “that’s what my grandma always used for pies”. The pie ones turned so so, but the cheese one turned out amazing! I peeled the skin off and boiled chunks, which was tedious, but delicious. I fed it to my baby all winter after freezing in ice trays. And added 2 cubes to my oatmeal in the morning. FANTASTIC!

  • Heather N. says:

    I bought two large neck pumpkins together for $5 and after baking them for an hour and using about 15min of my time pureeing and bagging them I ended up with 26 cups of pumpkin in my freezer. I thought that was definitely worth my effort. It’s so easy and it kept my house warm too. 🙂

  • Marie says:

    Crystal- Can I ask what the price of the pumpkins were at Walmart? And what would be a good price for them if i decided to make my own?

  • Aimee says:

    LOVE “real” pumpkin!!!

    we get ours at the local farmer’s market…organic sugar/pie pumpkins for $1.00 each! yum!

    • Heather says:

      Wow! Okay. Now I see why people are doing it. Here the little ones go for $2.99ish, making it cheaper to buy it in the can.

  • I’m excited to try this at home!

    Mary Ellen
    The Working Home Keeper

  • As much as I love pumpkin and I’ve never, ever thought about cooking them in the crockpot. Shame on me! Thanks for this method Crystal! This is a time saver! Throw it in the crock pot and go!

  • Sandy says:

    Here’s a great Spiced Pumpkin Bread recipe. This recipe makes two generous loaves. Everyone in my family just loves it! Make ahead and freeze for gift giving at Thanksgiving or Christmas.

    3 cups all-purpose flour (about 13 1/2 ounces)
    2 cups sugar
    2 teaspoons baking soda
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
    1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    2/3 cup canola oil
    3 eggs, lightly beaten
    1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin
    1/2 cup dried currants or raisins (optional)
    Cooking spray

    Preheat oven to 350.

    Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 7 ingredients (through nutmeg) in a large bowl; make a well in center of mixture. Combine canola oil, eggs, and pumpkin in a medium bowl; stir with a whisk until smooth. Add to flour mixture, stirring just until moist. Fold in currants.

    Spoon batter into 2 (9 x 5-inch) loaf pans coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool loaves in pans 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pans. Cool loaves completely.

  • Erin says:

    I just made pumpkin this weekend but the recipe I used had you cut the pumpkins in half before roasting them in the oven. I definitely like the idea of roasting them whole and then removing the inside! After this weekend I’m not sure it was worth my time/effort, but it was a fun project to try.

  • Elias says:

    Thanks for this tip! This is perfect timing. I bought canned pumpkin to make the pumpkin scones you posted a few days ago. However, my son is also bringing home a pumpkin from school today. I think he would find it cool if we cooked it. But if he wants to save it, we’ll use the canned. Either way, that pumpkin is going to eventually get eaten now! Ha!

    • Rae says:

      What I do (I’m super cheap lol) when my kids have pumpkins is let them paint on it with non toxic paint (or stickers or by glueing stuff on it) instead of carving it then I can just wash it off and use it once Halloween is over LOL

  • amanda says:

    what you need to try next is a chicken pot pie in a pumpkin! they are so amazing and easy to cook!

  • Suzy says:

    I made my own puree last year. I used the white sugar pumpkins in the oven and did not think it was difficult at all. I think fresh is always best. Especially if you can go to the farm and pick them yourself, then you can ask the farmers how they were grown and what chemicals were used on them.
    Also with canned pumpkin there is the risk of BPA.

  • Kim says:

    So two questions. How do you know the difference between a pie pumpkin and just a small pumpkin? Or are they the same? I would love to try to make my own this year!!

    Also, bottom line, what would be a good per lb price to look for when purchasing a pumpkin to roast to make it a somewhat cost-effective project? For me, it doesn’t have to be a major savings. I also enjoy the satisfaction of homecooked projects. However, I want to make sure not to overspend 🙂

  • Becky says:

    I make my own puree every year. I’m going to try your roasting pumpkins whole idea, because every year mine come out so watery and I think it’s because I cut them in half and put them face down in water (here’s my post on it – http://fromthemouthsofhansons.blogspot.com/2010/10/make-it-yourself-pureed-pumpkin.html )

    Also, my food processor AND blender died and I need to either buy one or the other or find another way to puree this pumpkin. Should I just mash it with a potato masher? I’m interested in any ideas you all have…..

    • Melissa Z says:

      I didn’t want to get out my food processor & just used a big serving fork to smush mine up- it worked just find for me (started with a pumpkin that was 7 lbs).

      I also did it the lazy way & stuck the pumkin in the microwave- done in 20 minutes! (cut it in half, took out seeds, sprayed w/ a bit of olive oil & covered).

  • Krista says:

    Hi 🙂
    I roasted a pumpkin last year and I have to tell ya.. I probably did the wrong one (I did a big one b/c I forgot to carve it- and I didn’t want it to go to waste), but the pumpkin was still delish! I served it to my son and the little girl I babysat and they LOVED it! I roasted mine and will do the same again this year.. I think I’ll get the smaller ones tho 😀 I also make a wheat-free doggie treat for my Yorkie with pumpkin, rice flour and powdered milk- he loves them! Fall just isn’t the same without pumpkin for sure! 😀

  • lorie says:

    Crystal, what is a good price for a small pumpkin like the one you useed in the pics

  • Julie in IN says:

    We found wild pumpkins growing behind our yard where someone tossed out their old one last year when they were done with it. Another friend gave us 7 pie pumpkins so we are enjoying the free pumpkin this year!

    I’m finding the small pie pumpkins net a firmer yield of pumpkin similar to that out of the can. Pie pumpkins cook up great on the stove top in a bit of water in 10 minutes if you slice it in 8 pieces and they don’t get water logged.

    Did you know that you can puree the cooked skin, too, for extra antioxidants? I used it in our pumpkin smoothies this week and no one knew the difference. YUM! This is how some pies get their intense orange color.

  • Alison Kauffman says:

    I started baking, pureeing and freezing my own pumpkin last year right after Halloween & Thanksgiving. Pumpkin cost? $0. After Halloween my friends & neighbors had bought pumpkins for decorating (didn’t carve them) & I told them that if they are going to throw them out – I wanted them. Then our church had bought a lot of pumpkins for decorating for a luncheon & after we left the woman in charge said she was going to throw them out. About 5 of us started making trips to our cars. I just freeze mine, but my mother in law does a lot of canning & she cans hers for the pantry. It cost me time & money to cook – but we had snow & ice days when we weren’t leaving the house, & the heater was running so the heat from the oven was nice to have.

  • MLK says:

    Not sure if this has been asked before, but why do you cover the pumpkins in oil before putting them in the oven? Does the oil make it into the pumpkin? Would it be fine to use a cheap vegetable oil instead? Or even just water?

    This looks like a potentially fun activity for a lazy afternoon. 🙂

  • Andrea says:

    Another thing to consider is the energy consumed to cook them. It is probably cheaper to run the crockpot than to run the oven.

  • august says:

    I just made a mistake I think. I was so excited to do this I sent my husband to WalMart to buy 4 pumpkins. Definitely wasn’t expecting the $4 price tag :/

  • lindsey says:

    If you cut them in half and roast them on a cookie sheet, cut side down, some of the liquid will evaporate and you get a less watery product. If you use a large pumpkin and it seems stringy, after you cook it use an immersion blender and that will eliminate the stringy-ness.

    I don’t agree that pumpkins take a lot of work to grow. They do need room and sunlight, but as long s you keep them watered they take care of themselves. We have three compost heaps going, one for new, one for older and one for almost-done. We throw pumplin seeds into the older pile each year and have excellent results.

  • I normally cut my pumpkins in half and place them face down in a dish with about an inch of water and bake at 350 for about an hour or until soft.

    But I have a heck of a time cutting the pumpkins so I will definitely be trying the whole roast method with the ones I get from my CSA this week!

    Thank you for sharing!

  • Natalie says:

    I also cut mine in half, turn upside down in about an inch of water, and bake in the oven until soft, as April does. Then I mash the pumpkin, add a bit more water if necessary, and cook it either on the stove on VERY low, or in the slow cooker, for a few more hours until it turns deeper orange. Then I puree it in the blender and freeze. The flavor is SO much richer and almost buttery compared to canned pumpkin… I notice the difference right away in both pumpkin bread and pumpkin pie. You can also pour the puree (without doing the extra cooking time at the end) into a cheesecloth-lined colander and get some of the extra water out that way. This will help it be more of the consistency of canned pumpkin, so that your recipes will turn out correctly. Save the pumpkin water from this step for throwing into soups, stews, or even adding to milkshakes.

  • Julie Huey says:

    I hate to burst your bubble, but canned pumpkins are made from a variety of butternut squash. I found out the hard way by baking a bunch of pumpkins, baking a pie, and being disappointed in the results. I will be buying butternut squash from now on for baking.

  • I have always wanted to make my own pumpkin puree. Will have to try this! Have you ever roasted the seeds?

  • Jamie says:

    We wait until Halloween day each year to carve our pumpkin – the next morning I cut up and roast the pumpkins then puree and freeze. We also plant one pumpkin vine each year in the garden (the kids love to watch the pumpkins grow and turn from dark green to bright orange). This year our one vine produced 8 good size pumpkins! I will be making a lot of puree this year!

  • Kathy Hester says:

    I cook mine in my slow cooker, but there’s no need to cut it up before you cook it. The trick is to pick a pie pumpkin that fits in your size slow cooker. Then prick it with a fork like you would do before baking a potato. Oil the crock, then stick the pumpkin in, cover and cook on low until tender or about 6 to 8 hours.

  • Kathy Hester says:

    Oh and one more thing – make sure it cools before you cut into it and scrape out the seeds!

    • Stefanie says:

      Can you still roast the seeds if you cook it whole?
      You said you oil the crock pot — do you just wipe oil on the edges? or put in a few tablespoons of oil or what do you do?

  • sam says:

    i work at a save a lot store and we have cans for 99cents if u live near one

  • Debrah says:

    I cut up, cook and puree pumpkin every year. I have found that if you buy a larger pumpkin (Wal-Mart has them for $3.98), cut, scoop out the seeds, and either roast or boil, it is far cheaper than canned pumpkin. I can get between 12 – 16 cups of puree out of a large pumpkin. Canned pumpkin contains roughly 1 and 3/4 cups pumpkin per can. To simplify the math, that’s 2 cups for $2. Which means I saved approx. $8-$12 by doing it myself. And I roast the seeds, which saves me from buying snack food the week I “do” pumpkin. You can also use the fresh pumpkin in a savory way. Try substituting it for butternut squash in a butternut squash soup recipe.

  • Mandy says:

    I was just wondering if you do anything with the pumpkin seeds? I’ve heard people eat them??

    • patricia says:

      I make pumkin seeds by rinsing all the seeds and run the pulp out ,then paper towel or dry them on a screen,a few hours to overnight.Then take 1 and half tablespoon on coconut oil distributing over all the seeds. Sprinkle sea salt and bake in 375 degree oven for 15 min. till light toasty brown. Try to lighlty turn over seeds for even browning. cool and devour.. very delicious… Good luck !!!

  • Bethany says:

    To eliminate the hard time cutting winter squash and pumpkins – put them in the oven (at like 400 or something) for 10-15 minutes. Then let them cool. Not sure if it cooks the skin or what but it make them really easy to cut!

  • Ellen says:

    When pumpkin gets expensive, I use mashed sweet potatoes as a substitute. I actually prefer their taste over pumpkin, and they’re much easier to make then dealing with cooking a whole pumpkin!

  • Sarah says:

    I live in SoCal and want to make my own purée but I don’t knownof any stores that sell the special pumpkins. Help please! I have Albertsons, Vons, Ralph’s, Sprouts, and walmart but not the mega store. Please I want to do this, this weekend!

    • C. Vincent says:

      I also live in So Cal. I see them in most stores in the fall. They are called pie pumpkins or sometimes sugar pumpkins. They are smaller pumpkins than the ones used for carving but you can use the carving pumpkins as well but they are more watery than the pie pumpkins. Bake and mash or puree them. I measure them into bags that hold 1 cup so they are premeasured for recipes.

  • Miranda says:

    Went to Aldi’s today and they have the cans of pumpkin now! I got them for $.99.

  • Vicky says:

    I was excited to do this with pie pumpkins this year, after using a larger pumpkin last year and having a less flavorful product. Roasting them whole in the oven was fantastically easy, and I loved how easy it was to scoop out the seeds and flesh. There wasn’t really any cost savings, as I got 11.5 cups of pumpkin for roughly $11.50, or $1 per cup. A can of pumpkin (figuring 2 cups), costs $2 here, so I broke even. Or I lost money, figuring time and energy costs. But the pumpkin tasted very good and I will use it for times when I can’t get any canned pumpkin in the store. All in all, it was worth a try. 🙂

  • Vicky says:

    Just saw Miranda’s post – I will be watching Aldi for pumpkin! 🙂

  • Joan. Gentry says:

    Well, four years later I found this pin. This was the first year that we grew pumpkins and I love roasting them whole. I would never even guess this could be done. I almost always go the easier route. Thanks for the tip.

  • Tami says:

    Make sure you buy sugar or pie pumpkins, not what they sell for carving, those are stringy and don’t have good flavor. We have a huge garden and grow a lot of pumpkin. Just wash them off, put on a cookie sheet with sides or a roaster pan without a lid, no need to oil the pumpkin or pan. Bake at 350 degrees until done, 1 hour or more, stick a fork in them to see if they are soft. Put the pumpkin flesh in a bowl and puree with a stick blender.

  • Julia Gray says:

    Did you know that the canned pumpkin is not real pumpkin?
    It is a Butternut Squash. The manufacturer of pumpkin puree thought the meat of the pumpkin was to light and therefore did not think it looked appealing. Thus came the Butternut squash.

  • D. Gregory says:

    i roasted my pumpkins whole last fall and thought that was great… it never occurred to me until months later that i can do the same with a spaghetti squash! thanks!

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