November 20, 2010

Make your own pumpkin puree

Making your own pumpkin puree is very easy and very rewarding. This time of year there are plenty of sugar pie pumpkins available at your local fruit market and the grocery store. It is wonderful to have pumpkin puree readily available in your freezer. This will allow you the freedom to make pumpkin dishes and desserts all year round. For instance, my family loves pumpkin pancakes...any time of year! Not only is pumpkin delicious, it is very healthy. Pumpkins are loaded with beta carotene, potassium, fiber, zinc, and vitamins A and C. Sugar pie pumpkins are small, dark orange and have a thick skin. The small 3 or 4 pound sugar pie pumpkins are claimed to be the best to use for cooking and baking. All pumpkins are edible, but some say the larger field pumpkins used for carving jack o lanterns can be too stringy and not as sweet. However, I have read, more than once, of people who've always used field pumpkins to make all of their pumpkin desserts and it has worked fantastically.

Here's the process for making your own pumpkin puree..give it a try!

You will be so happy you did!

1) rinse pumpkin free of dirt

2) cut top and stem off of pumpkin and discard

3) cut pumpkin in half right down the middle from top to bottom

4) scrape and remove seeds and pulp, discard pulp and save seeds for roasting

5) place pumpkin halves with interior side face down in baking dish

6) pour 1 C water into baking dish

7) bake pumpkin for 1 hour in 375 degree oven

8) remove pumpkin from oven and allow to cool

9) easily peel skin from pumpkin with fingers

10) cut pumpkin into several pieces and place in food processor

11) puree pumpkin with metal blade until smooth

12) divide pumpkin in 1 cup increments in quart size freezer bags

I like to flatten the pumpkin in the freezer bags and store flat in a 9 x 13 plastic container to save space and keep bags from sliding all over the freezer

13) freeze pumpkin for future use

Pumpkin is so versatile...
it can be cooked in many ways...
including, but not limited to: pie, rolls, cookies, muffins, pancakes, cheesecake and so on and so on.

Stay tuned for tomorrow. I'll be posting my famous pumpkin pancakes recipe! It is a definite favorite at this house! My family can't get enough!