Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Cooking pumpkins (and squash)

My luck with cooking pumpkins is not that great.

I get impatient. It seems to take FOREVER in the oven. Pumpkins like Winter Luxury (selected for pies, not ornaments) have a very thick edible rind.

While settling in to sleep last night, a picture popped into my head.

By cutting the pumpkin into wedges similar to how we eat cantaloup and then scoring the slices, I could lay them flat and the "deepest section" would be significantly smaller.

One thing led to another.

Speeding things along by running pumpkin halves in the microwave is not efficient because the heating in a microwave is not very uniform through the volume. Being able to flatten out the scored wedges makes a microwave pre-heat viable.

The advantage of the microwave pre-heat is that it deposits heat deeper into the chunks. That is advantageous because the last thing to be fully cooked are the centers of the thickest sections and radiant and convective heat deposit their energy on the food's surface.

Furthermore, if the cooking of the pumpkin is limited by the incident radiant and convective heat, cutting them into wedges and then scoring means you can spread them out.

Between the two pans, approximately four pounds of uncooked pumpkin

And here they are in the oven

Why not just cook them in the microwave or boil them?

I like the way roasted foods taste. They are sweeter because some of the moisture is driven off. The surface is slightly caramelized.

I will give these guys the knife test in 30 minutes.


  1. We eat a lot of baked squash. Pumpkin included. Usually in wedges. I'll suggest the microwave and scoring the wife. Her go to lately has been the instapot pressure cooker due to speed.

  2. We eat a lot of that also. Mostly pumpkin and Hubbard Squash. We just cut them in half lengthwise scrape out the seeds, which I save a lot of, and put it on a cookie sheet cut side down and bake at 350 degrees until I can shove a fork through it. Usually about an hour for the big ones. Yum yum. ---ken

  3. Or cut them in half, clean out the seeds, and put them upside down on a baking sheet with a shallow amount of water. They steam first, then bake. Flip them over, fill with butter and maple syrup, and let bake a bit longer.

    Works well with smaller round squash, like acorn. Even does pretty well with spaghetti squash, but skip the butter and maple syrup if you're going to literally use spaghetti sauce in them.

    1. "fill with butter an maple syrup.." Now that's a great idea. I'll try that. Thanks.---ken

    2. That’s how we cook the jarrahdale, and triamble pumpkins we prefer over any other winter pumpkins. You can even wait till their done cooking to remove the seeds, they’ll come out a lot easier when everything has softened up a bit.

  4. Until about 2-3 years ago I thought I didn't like butternut squash. I had been just splitting then cleaning the seeds out and baking. A couple years ago I pealed and cut one into 1 inch cubes. I nuked the pile of cubes for more than 10 minutes, then roasted the softened cubes in the oven wrapped in foil until the squash was good and soft, applied salt and pepper and a dab of butter. Wish I had known about it years ago. That's the way I will do potatoes when I don't want to add all the calories of frying them.

  5. Thanks for the timely tip. Our first pumpkins will be ripe this week, and that means it's time for PIE. I'll try your method in the oven.


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