How to roast a fresh pumpkin: A Pedro “PoP” Aguon tutorial

Photos by Annette Merfalen, Army Lt. Col. (Ret.)
Photos by Annette Merfalen, Army Lt. Col. (Ret.)

How to roast a fresh pumpkin: A Pedro “PoP” Aguon tutorial

by Annette Merfalen, Army Lt. Col. (Ret.)

Pedro “PoP” Aguon was a chef in the Navy. PoP passed down to his family his extensive knowledge of cooking, and his daughter, Arlene Sablan Aguon, is kind enough to share some of PoP’s recipes and cooking tips with us. That was PoP’s way, sharing with the younger generations in order to keep the knowledge of our Chamorro culture and heritage alive. Rest in peace, PoP…your family and friends miss you terribly.

From Arlene:
“My PoP’s taught me how to roast a fresh pumpkin. It makes the best pies, Buchi Buchi &
Turnovers. It makes the home smell like Thanksgiving too. ENJOY. ” ~ @untie R

Freshly roasted pumpkin tastes better than any canned pumpkin you buy in stores. Try roasting
pumpkins PoP’s way. You’ll be glad you did.


1. Wash you pumpkin in warm water and salt, then pat dry.

2. Cut around the stem area to remove.

3. Remove the stem. Your pumpkin flesh should be firm and orange. If it smells sour or the flesh is mushy, discard the pumpkin.

4. Cut your pumpkin in half, starting from stem to the bottom. Everything should be moist.

5. Remove the pith and seeds. I use a large metal spoon or small bowl to scrape it out.

6. Line a cookie sheet with foil. Place the pumpkin halves outside down.

7. Cover the tops of the pumpkin halves with foul. Roast in oven at 350 degrees for about an hour. At 45 min., check to see if pumpkin flesh is tender when pierced by a fork.

8. Soak you pumpkin seed and pith in cold water.

9. Gently rub the pith away from the seeds. The seeds will float to the top.

10. Drain the seeds in strainer. Pat dry and refrigerate overnight.

11. Remove pumpkin from foil. Let the pumpkin completely cool (for about  an hour).

12. Once cool, cut into 4 sections. Gently scoop the pumpkin pulp away from the skin. Use a ice cream scoop or spoon.

13. Scoop as close to the skin as you can get.

14. Place in air-tight container. I save the skin for the squirrels or birds. They love it.

15. Refrigerate overnight.

The next day, add spices and puree in food processor.


“My name is Annie. Food and I get along so well! Cooking and baking are more than a hobby for me – they’re a passion. I come from the beautiful island of Guam, U.S.A. The recipes you’ll find here are my creations, or those of my children, who are also budding foodies. I hope you like them. Drop me a comment or two to let me know how you like our island and other delicacies. Enjoy!”

- Annette Merfalen

Step into Annie’s Chamorro Kitchen via Facebook. Search for: “Annie’s Chamorro Kitchen”

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