It’s fall of the year. That time when the leaves turn red and gold, the weather turns cool, and our thoughts turn to Halloween and pumpkins. Those delicious orange pumpkins are good for more than just making jack-o’lanterns,
but with today’s busy schedules, it is usually easier to just pick up a can of pumpkin — even a ready made pie — than it is to actually cook and prepare a pumpkin. But wait, that really isn’t true if you use a solar oven to bake the pumpkin. Two years ago, I showed you how I bake a pumpkin in the solar oven. I used the smallest, least efficient solar oven and the pumpkin still baked to perfection. This year, I baked the pumpkin in the GSO. And the results were the same. This is absolutely the easiest way to bake a pumpkin or other large squash.
In order to fit the pumpkin into the GSO, I had to do things a little differently than before. I cut the top off, and cleaned out the inside of the pumpkin. Then I inverted the pumpkin over the fusion roaster.
It takes a full day of sun to bake a pumpkin, so I started early and went about my day. Unfortunately for me — or should I say, the pumpkin — the day turned out to be hazy and a bit overcast; and when I got home, I found the GSO was completely in the shade. Nonetheless, this pumpkin was about 3/4 baked anyway! I decided to put it out again the following day to finish up and make sure the pumpkin was cooked. (I put in the refrigerator overnight and put it back into the solar oven cold.) I let it cook about another 4 hours until it was really soft.
Usually the rind will just peel off. I don’t know if it was the type of pumpkin or the two day cook method, but the rind didn’t peel right off this time. However, it did slice off very quickly and easily, just like peeling a cantaloupe. After cutting it up into large chunks, my husband used a stick mixer to quickly mash it into a thick pulp. The juice that was in the pan was added to the chunks in the bowl. Peeling and mashing only took about 15 – 20 minutes.
The mashed pulp can be used in any standard recipe calling for canned pumpkin in equal proportions. (1 cup pulp = 1 cup canned). However, I generally increase the spices called for in the recipe by 1/4 to 1/2 ( 1 tsp in recipe = 1.25 tsp or 1.5 tsp) depending on your taste. This compensates for spices added to canned pumpkin by the manufacturer.
By baking and mashing your own pumpkin puree, you know there are no additives, just pure pumpkin. Perfect for any recipe.