Friday, October 22, 2010

Pumpkin Puree

Apparently there is another shortage of pumpkin puree this year. I am not exactly sure why because I can always find it at the store. Even though I always have extra cans, I am never one to turn away from doing something homemade nowadays. I found these instructions online (thanks to Annie) about how to puree pumpkin and even store it. I couldn't resist! Plus I was shocked to find out that I did it the same last year with one minor (read: major) step missing: the straining. No wonder the pie was watery!

First, you want two (or so) pie pumpkins. These are usually smaller than your jack-o-lanterns and are usually pretty inexpensive.

First you will want to chop the tops off the pumpkins. Even if you have a brand-new knife this and the next step will be difficult to do smoothly.

Then slice the pumpkins right down the midde to cut them in half, vertically.

Using a melon baller (or similar tool), scrape out all the goop (aka pulp) and seeds. Save the seeds for baking!

Place 1/4-inch of water into a deep dish pan and bake the pumpkins, flat side down.

Bake at 350 degrees for 60-90 minutes. You will know they are done when you flip them over and can easily poke a fork through the flesh of the pumpkin.

Using the melon baller from before, remove all the pumpkin flesh (not including the skin) and place into a food processor.

Process the pumpkin until it is pureed and smooth, about 2-3 minutes.

Once pureed, place a mesh sieve lined with a paper towel over a medium mixing bowl. Strain the puree for 1-2 hours and evenly divide into storage containers.

To freeze, place in a freezer-safe container for up to two months. I would suggest also making sure to keep it in one-cup batches so you only have to thaw the amount you need.

If you would like to use the puree soon, refrigerate for up to five days. From these two pumpkins I got 2.5 cups of puree. Not too shabby!

PLEASE NOTE that this recipe is for the canned pumpkin (puree), which is completely different than the pumpkin pie mix (Libby's). I don't have a recipe for Libby's mix, but if you like it and see some in the store, you might want to grab them up since there is another shortage .. apparently. Soon I will be experimenting and posting a pumpkin pie recipe using this homemade pumpkin puree.

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