Mini pumpkins are often used to be painted by children for Halloween. Most people don’t realize these tiny squash can also be delicious to eat and fun to prepare!
We’ve all seen mini pumpkins before. Come the end of September every supermarket, produce store and farm has a bin brimming with the miniature squash. Too small to carve, they are popular for painting and decorating. They are also edible and very delicious. Let me first tell you that mini pumpkins are not really pumpkins, but a variety of acorn squash. They are usually small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, inexpensive and easy to find in the Fall.
The boys love making Maple Roasted Mini Pumpkins. For some reason just the size alone gets them excited about it, they love the idea of getting to eat their own personal pumpkin. Since this recipe is so easy the kids can really help out, and it turns into a fun fall activity. Sometimes I will surprise the boys after school with a bag of mini pumpkins, then we’ll go home and crowd around the table to make them. It’s always a favorite memory for me. And there’s really nothing to it. To roast these little guys you’ll need one mini pumpkin per person (or if you’re like me you’ll buy a few extra to have for lunch the next day!).
The first thing to know is that you should pick your mini pumpkins the same way you would pick any pumpkin. Make sure there are no soft spots or holes. Choose mini pumpkins whose stems are intact and those that have a flat bottom – this makes roasting them easier.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Using a sharp knife, cut around the stem. Cut at a slight angle, all the way through, then pry the lid off. Use a small spoon to scoop out any seeds and fibers. Normally I would roast the seeds later on, but I don’t find these seeds to have much flavor so I usually just discard them.
Line up the pumpkins and place inside each one:
- 1 teaspoon butter
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- A sprinkle of nutmeg
- A dash of cinnamon
Replace the lids and place all of the pumpkins into a lightly greased roasting pan or rimmed cookie sheet. Roast for 30-40 minutes (if you are only doing a couple of pumpkins check them after 20 minutes). The pumpkins are done when you can easily pierce them with a fork.
Remove them from the oven and allow them to cool slightly. I normally just serve them as is, allowing each person to scrape the flesh from the inside of the pumpkin themselves. The kids love it, eating straight out of the pumpkin is a treat to them!
For the Bean, or my sometimes picky husband, I’ll scoop the flesh out myself before serving them.
These pumpkins are sweet with a hint of nuttiness to them. Even my Monkey, who normally won’t touch anything that doesn’t come with microwave instructions on the bag, gets excited to have them! So tell me, have you ever eaten a mini pumpkin before?
- Mini pumpkins (1 per person)
- Maple Syrup
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Carefully cut tops off of pumpkins and scoop out seeds and pulp.
- Fill each pumpkin with 1 teaspoon maple syrup, 1 teaspoon butter, a dash of cinnamon and a pinch of nutmeg.
- Replace lid.
- Place on a lightly greased rimmed baking sheet.
- Roast for 30-40 minutes or until pumpkins are easily pierced with a fork.
- Serve whole and allow guests to scoop the flesh straight from the pumpkin.