Posted By Jonathan on August 28, 2012
This year we planted 4 sugar pumpkin plants and got several pumpkins on each vine, despite the problems we had with the heat and bugs. It’s always exciting when you see a female flower form, and then start to produce a pumpkin! Its even more exciting when you pollinate the flower yourself, since the flower formed before any insects started coming out. This is exactly what we did back in May, and we got a whole bunch of pumpkins ripening up around the end of July, which is way early!
Our pumpkin vines have, unfortunately, died back due to a cucumber beetle and squash beetle infestation. We also over-watered them in the heat, not realizing that our clay-filled soil holds moisture pretty well. 🙁
The pumpkins that did form, about a dozen of them, are still around though! A couple of weeks ago, we took the liberty of preserving 4 of them, and managed to freeze over 2 quarts of sugar pumpkin puree. Here’s how we did it.
First, let the pumpkins sit for 2-3 weeks in a cool dry place. This lets the pumpkin finish up whatever it was doing when it was picked (growing), so it can go into ‘storage mode’. Essentially the pumpkin will become sweeter.
After it has sat for a few weeks, wash it off and cut the pumpkin in half along its equator. Scoop out all the seeds and other stuff, and make roasted pumpkin seeds!
Place the two halves of the pumpkin face down on a baking sheet, and cover with tin foil. Bake the pumpkins for about 90 minutes, making sure to rotate them at about 45 minutes.
When they are done, they will be hot. Let them cool for about 15 minutes. Then you can scoop out the pumpkin meat from the sides of the pumpkin halves. It will be extremely sweet tasting! You could just freeze the meat as is, but we chose to put it through a food processor, and make puree. All you have to do is put it into freezer bags, and you are done.
I couldn’t believe how good baked sugar pumpkin tastes. It is perfect, just the way it is. 🙂