It is mid October and we are finally getting our fall in full swing. We might have picked all of our pumpkins a month ago, but now we are getting ready to put them to good use (aside from just sitting around looking pretty).
No, we are not carving a bunch of jack-o-lanterns. (We plan to buy a pumpkin for that job.) We have serious intentions to devour every last bit of our pumpkins – from the ‘meat’ to the seeds. In the spirit of fall and all the pumpkin and spice goodness that comes with it, we thought it would be fun to start a pumpkin series. Every week we are going to share something pumpkin. Warning: sugar may be at a all time high around here, though there will be some more treats on the healthy side along the way.
First in this pumpkin series: pumpkin puree – Did you know that store bought pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie filling, you know the kind in a can, is not usually pumpkin? It is actually another kind of squash. Poor pumpkin, all the fame and no glory.
Homegrown pumpkins, homemade pumpkin puree
First thing you want to do is wash your pumpkins clean of any dirt. Then, with a sharp knife, cut the top of the pumpkin off.
With the upper half removed, cut the pumpkin in fours. First by cutting it in half and then half again.
Now for the ‘fun’ part…no really, this can be fun. We poured a little wine and put scary movies on while we went through the pumpkin processing. Start by removing all the guts. Using a spoon, scrape and scoop out the inside of the pumpkin – placing guts in a bowl. If you want to save the seeds for eating or planting, clean the pulp off them and set them aside and we will get to them later.
This wasn’t entirely easy. Some elbow grease is required and you might want to use a knife to remove the toughest spots of the core. Though, do be careful, I myself even had a small accident. It was strictly spoons for me after that.
With the pumpkin wedges scraped clean, we placed them in a baking dish and bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.
When the pumpkins are done, they’ll look like this.
We used the fork test to gauge some of the larger pieces. (If you push the tips of the fork into the pumpkin and it is soft, they are ready.)
Allow the finished pieces to cool before handling and remove the skin. You should be able to peel most off with your fingers but you can also use a spoon to guide the peel off. You may also want to scrape any extra pumpkin that came off with the peel.
To get your pumpkin to its pureed state, place chunks into your food processor.
Please disregard our tiny food processor. We are still using the same one my parents got me when I first moved out. Odds are you can fit more in yours and will be done in half the time. And hey, if you don’t happen to have one at all, pull out a blender and if you are more hardcore go with a potato masher. There are a lot of ways to get the job done.
With the pumpkin puree in a bowl, we measured and placed specific portions in freezer safe bags. This allows us to preserve our puree and and makes cooking with it later much easier.
You know that bowl of seeds I had you set aside earlier in the process? Well don’t toss em out. We are going to tell you about how to save them so you can grow more pumpkins next year, and of course, our favorite ways to eat them. I can hardly wait, this pumpkin series should be fun. I think its clear that we are all a little pumpkin crazed.
Psst, don’t forget your compost has to eat too. All your scraps could be its fall dreams come true, assuming it has dreams, or not. Either way, compost everything you can!