Since this year I have tried to stay away from processed and prepackaged foods, I decided that it would be fun to take advantage of the millions and billions of pumpkins that are available this time of year.
I had read that there was something different about the texture and flavor of pumpkin pies and other baked goods made from pureew.
At first I thought that pumpkins are a pain in the butt, and the only people who would ever take the time to make their own pumpkin puree would be those over-achievers who pretend that they are Martha Stewart and are lost in the dark ages.
But then I remembered my mom always telling me that the secret to making awesome food is to have awesome ingredients, and there is no way that I would ever eat the pumpkin puree that you can buy in a can.
Making pumpkin puree while pumpkins are available on just about every street corner makes total sense and allows you to enjoy better, especially when you take the time to make enough pumpkin puree to stock your freezer. All year long you will have a much better pumpkin ingredient available as you are baking such things are pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin dip, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin butter, and so forth.
1, Choose your pumpkins…You can roast as many small pumpkins at a time as you want. Tyically each pound of uncooked pumpkin will yield one pound of mashed and cooked pumpkin.
Make sure that the pumpkins that you use are the small “sugar” or “pie” pumpkins that are “bred” specifically for baking and cooking…not the larger pumpkins grown specifically for carving jack-o-lanterns.
These larger pumpkins are not the right texture and do not taste nearly as good.
2. Prepare to cook it…
- Slice a small piece of skin off one side of the pumpkin so when laid on its side, the pumpkin will lay flat without rolling.
- Remove the stem,
- Slice the pumpkin in half.
- Scoop out the seeds and pulp from the center with a large metal spoon, ice cream scoop, or melon baller. Place all the seeds into a bowl for roasting later.
- Repeat until all the pumpkin pieces are largely free of seeds and pulp.
- Rinse the pumpkin under cool water to rid the skin of any residual dirt. Dry well with a clean towel.
- Place pumpkin halves, cut side down, in a roasting pan,
- Add 1 cup of water to the pan.
- Rub the cut surfaces with oil.
- Sprinkle the pieces with kosher salt.
3. Cook your pumpkin….At this point you are ready to cook your pumpkin. This can be done in at least three different cooking methods—boiling, roasting, and steaming.
a. Boiling your puree..Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the pumpkin to the boiling water, Cook for about 25 minutes or until the flesh is tender when pierced with a knife.
b. Steaming your puree,…Place the pumpkin pieces in either a steamer or a metal colander placed over a pot of boiling water. Cover. Let steam for about 50 minutes or until the flesh is tender when pierced with a knife.
c. Roasting your puree…Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Bake the pumpkin halves until you can easily insert a paring knife into the pumpkin, This can take anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes, depending on just how large your pumpkin halves actually were.
4. Preparing the Puree…
Now that your pumpkin has cooked, your goal is to squash it…until the entire pumpkin has basically turned into baby food.
Let the cooked pumpkin halves cool for at least an hour.
Use a large spoon to remove the roasted flesh of the pumpkin from the skin.
Now smoosh it into smithereens…
This can be done using a food processor, blender, immersion blender, potato masher, or even a fork.
Continue pureeing until all the pumpkin is totally smooth.
If you want your pumpkin more watery, add a few tablespoons of water at a time.
If you want your pumpkin less watery, strain it over a fine mesh strainer to get rid of some of the liquid.
5. Now what?
At this point you have a choice to either refrigerate and use the pumpkin within the next seven days or to freeze it in Ziploc bags, where it will keep for three months.
If freezing it, store about one cup of pumpkin in each bag.
I honestly find that a smarter idea would be to go ahead and start holiday baking with the fresh pumpkin puree. These five days of baking can save you much needed time later on in the holiday season.
After, it’s the most wonderful time of the year…to be getting ready for the most wonderful time of the year…
My how quickly this year has flown!!!