Pumpkin-Palooza!

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As much as I hate to say it, pumpkin season has snuck up on us.  Not being a big fan of the pumpkin spice craze, I’m still a fanatic for things with fresh pumpkin.

I don’t like my pumpkin related foods to include canned pumpkin from the store and HATE anything made from the store-bought pumpkin pie filling.

So, it’s not uncommon for me to get a few large pumpkins in the fall and make my own pumpkin puree for myself and the in-laws.

Making your own pumpkin puree may seem like a daunting task but it’s really quite simple.

  1. Know your pumpkins – There are several types of pumpkins but you can usually lump them into two main categories:
    • Carving/Decorating Pumpkins – You are certainly familiar with these.
    • Cooking Pumpkins
      • You can actually use either to cook with.  But, I think you get more out of a cooking pumpkin and a meatier/better texture.  The texture issue can be resolved by draining off the extra liquid from the puree.
  2. Wash and dry your pumpkins
  3. Cut your pumpkins in half.
  4. Using a large spoon (or even an ice cream scoop) remove the “guts” and stringy bits.
  5. Cut your halves into consistent size chunks in order for them to cook evenly and quickly.
  6. Cook the pumpkin until it’s soft.  You can do this in a pot on the stove or cover it with foil and roast it in the oven.
  7. Remove the skin of the pumpkin.  Sometimes you can just peel it off.  Some people prefer to scrape out the cooked meat.
  8. Using a blender, puree the pumpkin until it’s the consistency you want.  If your blender won’t start processing the pumpkin, add a little water.  You can always remove the water later.
  9. Once your pumpkin is ready, let it sit for 30-60 minutes and drain off any extra liquid.  Some people like to strain the liquid out with a cheesecloth.
  10. Freeze or can your puree.  I prefer to freeze mine.  I bag it in quantities of 2 or 4 pumpkincups (2 cups are standard for 1 pie) and lay the bags flat on a cookie sheet and let them freeze overnight.  Then, I can just pop them in a basket in my freezer and they don’t take up as much room as a canning jar would in my pantry.  Make sure you label the bags before you freeze them!

When you thaw your puree, feel free to drain off any excess liquid.

I prefer not to add any spices to my puree as I am making it.  Picture your puree is a blank canvas.  Then, you can add what you like to it depending on what you are making or who it is for!

Peace, Love & Pumpkins!

Hoosier Barn Chick

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