Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Make Your Own Pumpkin Puree, It's Easy!

Last week was the first time in almost a year that I saw canned pumpkin on the grocery store shelves. I was pretty shocked that the pumpkin shortage has gone on as long as it has. I told myself that I would make my own pumpkin puree this year if I couldn't get my hands on any. Actually there are some places that still cannot get canned pumpkin. So if thats how it is in your area then this post is for you.

It never dawned on me that making your own Pumpkin Puree was so easy. I assumed it was hard, so I never even bothered to try. I came across some pie pumpkins at home depot so I grabbed two. I know I can buy pumpkin again but I really wanted to give it a shot and see if there is a difference in taste from fresh versus canned. I have always heard that fresh pumpkin puree taste so much better

The whole process was really simple, but I did run into one problem I hadn't planned on. The skin was so hard that I couldn't even cut the pumpkins. I just assumed pie pumpkins were a different texture then regular Jack o Lantern pumpkin. So to solve that problem I just roasted the pumpkins whole for about 20 minutes to soften up the skins. After they cooled a bit I cut off the stems and cut each pumpkin into pieces.
I thought that would be so much safer than trying to attempt to cut the pumpkin because it just didn't look safe. Now I still don't know if fresh versus canned taste better because I froze all the pumpkin puree. But you can bet that I will be making a recipe in the next couple days and I will let you know. I have included some step by step photos of just how easy it is to make your own pumpkin puree. I hope you will give it a try especially if canned pumpkin is still not available in your area.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice pumpkin in half and remove stem. You can cut it in quarters if you want, or just leave it halved.Using a spoon, scrape out all of the stringy stuff and the seeds. (save the seed if you want to toast them) Spray a foil-lined baking sheet with non-stick spray. Place your pumpkin cut-side down on the sheet.

Cook pumpkin in a 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes or until its tender when pierced with a fork. When done, remove from oven and let cool on the baking sheet. Using a spoon scrape out the flesh and discard the skin/rind. It should be easy to scoop right out, Place pumpkin pulp in a food processor and process until smooth. I used the blade attachment to my Cuisinart hand mixer. You can also just mash it with a fork or potato masher.

If your pumpkin is on the dry side, you can add a little water to the pumpkin to get the consistency you want. I drizzled in about 1/4 cup of water until it had the right feel. At this point you can use it in any recipe that calls for pumpkin puree or canned pumpkin. I froze mine in 2 cup measures in zip lock freezer bags. Most recipes I use call for a whole can which is 15 oz.

If the pumpkin puree is a bit watery you can strain it through a small strainer.

If not using immediately store pumpkin puree in the freezer.

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