How to Cut Pumpkins for Baking and Cooking

Cutting very dense, ridged pumpkins can be a battle to say the least.  Most of us know how to cut a small pie pumpkin and cut and carve a carving pumpkin, but the very dense ridged ornamental pumpkins are a challenge.  With that in mind we are going to concentrate on the two denser varieties – the Jarradale Pumpkin and the Fairytale Pumpkin.  Not only does this break it down step-by-step for baking and roasting, but lets you see what the inside of each one looks like including the Lumina Pumpkin.

Step 1:  Make sure you have all the tools – a cutting board, large sharp knife, spoon (not shown) for scooping out the seeds and a strainer to wash the seeds for making Roasted Pumpkin Seeds if desired.

 Jarradale Pumpkin

Fairytale Pumpkin

Step 2:  The best way of cutting ridged pumpkins is to cut by inserting the knife into the ridges from the top and cut down following the contour, which means taking your knife from a 12:00 O’clock position ROTATING down to the 6:00 O’clock position not just straight down.  The pictures below are for baking the pumpkin and scooping out the flesh to cook or bake with.  Toward the end of this document shows how to cut the pumpkin into wedges and cube and peel it for roasting.  Please not that I cut each one into several pieces because they were too big to fit in my pans.

Jarradale Pumpkin

Fairytale Pumpkin

Step 3:  With a large spoon scoop out the stringy flesh and seeds reserving seeds by putting them in a strainer to clean if making Roasted Pumpkin Seeds.

Jarradale Pumpkin

Fairytale Pumpkin

Step 4: Place pumpkin flesh side down in a roasting pan, fill with water a quarter of the way up the pumpkin and cover with foil.  Cook in a preheated oven at 375 degrees for 1 1/2 hours or until pumpkin is soft when pierced with a fork.

JarradalePumpkin

Step 5:  Remove from oven and let cool.  Be careful when removing foil, because hot steam will be released.

Jarradale Pumpkin Cooked

Fairytale Pumpkin Cooked

Lumina Pumpkin Cooked and Cooled

Step 6: Scoop out flesh with a large spoon and you are ready to cook or bake with it.  Please note that these two pumpkins provide a LOT of pumpkin for cooking and baking.  An option is to take part of it for baking or cooking (baked goods, sauces, puree’s etc.) and use the remainder of uncooked pieces for roasting wedges (side dish) or cubes (salads and as a side dishes). 

Jarradale Pumpkin

Fairytale Pumpkin

If you intend to cut a pumpkin into wedges for roasting, complete steps 1 through 3 and then cut the pumpkin into wedges by follow the contours of the ridges.  For peeling and cutting the pumpkin into pieces, cut the pumpkin as you would for wedges, cut into pieces and simply cut the peel.  This is much easier than trying to peel a wedge and safer too.  For wedges, evenly coat with olive oil, kosher salt, and fresh ground pepper and bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees for 30 – 45 minutes or until soft when pierced with a fork.  For cubes/pieces, evenly coat with olive oil, kosher salt and fresh ground pepper and bake in a preheated oven for about 20 minutes or until soft when pierced with a fork.

Pumpkin Seeds from left to right: Roasted Pumpkin Seeds from a pie pumpkin, uncooked pumpkin seeds from a Jarradale Pumpkin and uncooked pumpkin seeds from a Fairytale Pumpkin.  For roasting pumpkin seeds see recipe Roasted Pumpkin Seeds.  The best seeds for roasting are carving pumpkins, pie pumpkins and Fairytale Pumpkins.  Roasted Jarradale Pumpkin and Lumina Pumpkin seeds tend to be quite chewy.

2 responses to “How to Cut Pumpkins for Baking and Cooking”

  1. jacqueline. Meyers says:

    Great pics and steps…thank you!

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