Monday, October 4, 2010

Homemade Pumpkin Puree


Another year, another pumpkin shortage, or so it seems. Now that October has rolled in, I’ve begun to get a bit impatient. When I do remember to check for canned pumpkin at the grocery store, I have yet to find any, and other bloggers are making me crazy with their pumpkin oats and pumpkin bread. I’m craving last year’s turkey pumpkin chili and creamy pumpkin penne pasta.

Being a student, I don’t have a lot of time to drive around town and look for canned pumpkin, but I DO have the time to sit at home and roast my own pumpkins to make pumpkin puree. That might sound counter-intuitive, but I worked on my senior project this weekend and this project kept me from throwing the computer against the wall at times (like when the search function went down on the Episcopal Archives site and none of my links would work. Praise the Lord for Google caching everything.) Plus, how awesome is it to make your own pumpkin puree? I felt like I was in a Laura Ingalls Wilder novel, you know, if they had a food processor in that little house on the prairie.

Whether you can’t find pumpkin readily or you’re concerned about the BPA in the liners of canned goods, making your own pumpkin puree is a good option. The hardest part was scraping out the seeds and pulp, but then you can roast the seeds for later. I’m looking forward to some roasted with Mexican spices on my salads this week for lunch.

First, you’ll need some pie (or sugar) pumpkins which are readily available at most grocery stores and farmers markets this time of year. Make sure you don’t get ones with a bunch of lacquer on the outside. Those are for decoration. And the ones for carving might prove difficult to roast and are not as tasty.

Preheat your oven to 350-degrees.


Cut the stems off the top of the pumpkins. That will help you stabilize the pumpkins when you cut them pumpkins in half. Scoop out all of the pumpkin guts. I like to use a grapefruit spoon. It’s a little small, but the little teeth really help in getting out all the pulp. Throw away or rinse the pulp off of the seeds so you can roast them later.


Place the pumpkins face-down on a rimmed baking sheet or shallow pan with enough water to have a 1/4 inch depth. Roast these babies for 60-90 minutes. Mine were done at about 60, but you want to make sure the flesh is really soft. A reminder: all of that water can cause quite a bit of steam, so if you’re wearing your glasses when you open the oven, you won’t be able to see anything. Not that I know from personal experience or anything.


While you wait for the pumpkin to cool, go write another page of your paper, shift your laundry from the washer to the dryer, and get another glass of water. Or do whatever you need to do. When the pumpkin flesh no longer burns your fingers, scoop it into your food processor and give it a whirl for a few minutes.


To get that thick canned pumpkin texture, I lined a mesh sieve with coffee filters, but you can use cheesecloth or paper towels or even a clean pillowcase. The fresh pumpkin will keep for a few days, but unless you have some really heavy-duty baking planned, you’ll probably want to freeze them in 1 cup portions or so.

Voila! You have just succeeded in sticking it to the man who withholds canned pumpkin from the shelves.

source: Pennies on a Platter