Monday, November 30, 2009

Pumpkin Puree

My kids have been saving pumpkins since Halloween with the intent to make pumpkin pie of them. Some of the pumpkins are from our garden and some of them were leftovers from the Great Pumpkin Carve and Pumpkin Saturday. All of them were still in great condition this past week when we made our pumpkin pies for Turkey Day. To turn the pumpkins into pie is a 3 step process that is much easier than you might think. This is what we did:

First, cut and gut the pumpkins. Clean out all the seeds and gunk from the center of the pumpkin and slice the pumpkin into chunks. My pumpkins were small sugar pumpkins (the best kind for making pie) that I just cut into halves and quarters.

Second, roast your pumpkin. Load all your pumpkin pieces into a roasting pan and add a half inch of water to the bottom of the pan. Cover your roaster with a lid or foil and place in a preheated 400 degree oven for 30 minutes. Check the pumpkin for tenderness by piercing it with a skewer or fork. You can turn the pumpkin with tongs if needed and continue cooking until skins are pierced easily and pumpkin is soft enough to scoop.

Third, scoop and puree the pumpkin. Once the pumpkin is cooked it will be very easy to remove from the skins. Carefully drain the water from the bottom of the roaster so the pumpkin doesn't reabsorb the juices. Use a hot pad to hold the pumpkin in one hand and scoop the pumpkin flesh from the skin using a large spoon. Discard skins. With all the pumpkin in a large bowl use your immersion blender to puree the pumpkin to a smooth consistency.

Now your puree is done. You can add a little butter and brown sugar for an excellent side dish or use it in recipes as you would pumpkin from the can. If you've got a pressure canner you can bottle your pumpkin for later use too.

I had enough puree for two pumpkin pies and had 3 jars worth left over. However, I do not have a pressure canner so these have not been processed and must be kept in the refrigerator.
I plan to use them within the next week or so.

Pumpkin puree is easy to make and it is oh so satisfying to take your own homegrown pumpkins and serve them as pie at Thanksgiving dinner. The pie was smooth and creamy in texture and the flavor was perfect--tasted like pumpkin.

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