Monday, October 26, 2009
Homemade Pumpkin Puree
My last post involved pumpkin puree and so does tomorrow's, so I thought it was time to show you how I make the damn stuff. (Isn't that a gorgeous picture? Don't mind the clutter in the background; I thought I hid it well enough, but obviously not. Keeping it real, people.)
But why make your own puree when you can buy it, you might ask? Or at least I imagine you ask, otherwise I'm talking to myself. Well readers, I find over the last few years I prefer to make my own stuff rather than buy it canned; that way, I can control all the preservatives in it. And usually, it tastes better, too. For instance, did you know that canned pumpkin often doesn't even have much pumpkin in it? A lot of times it's more squash than anything. At least when I make my own, I know what's in it, I support my local farmers, and I save money. My wee pumpkin cost 60 cents a pound, and I got 5 cups of puree out of it, which is about 2-3 cans worth. $2 vs $6-$7? Even I can do that math.
Also, it is easy peasy to make. Seriously. First, and this is important - you need to buy the right pumpkin. Ask for a pie pumpkin (also known as sugar pumpkins, I think). They are smaller, sweeter, and are more suited for baking than your big jack-o-lantern pumpkins. Once that's done, prepare to roast it. Why roast? Well, there's less prep involved, and it results in much less wet puree (that's good, trust me). So throw that bugger in the oven, cook it til it's soft, and blend the hell out of it in the trusty food processor. C'est tout!
HOMEMADE PUMPKIN PUREE
1. Get a pie pumpkin. Cut it in half and then scoop the guts out (save the seeds for roasting later if you like).
2. Cut your pieces in half again, and then place them on a baking sheet - there's very little mess, so you don't need to line your pan.
3. Place the pumpkin in a 350 degree oven, and roast 45 minutes or more until the pumpkin is good and soft.
4. Let it cool to where you can handle the pieces. Peel the skin off (it will come fairly easy), and then cut it into chunks. Throw it in the food processor. Blend until smooth, adding water sparingly as needed to get the right texture. Keep in the fridge for a couple of days, or freeze for later use.
For freezing: I usually measure out 1 cup, put it in a ziplock freezer bag, and lay it flat in the freezer. Two or three pumpkins should give you all the puree you need until next fall (depending on how much you use it, of course). But hey, I'm not magic, I'll let you figure that out. ;)
NOTE: You can boil the pumpkin as well, but from what I understand that results in a wetter puree that you may need to strain. If you don't have a food processor, though, you may want to use this option as the pumpkin will mash (or rice) easier.