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Pumpkin…not the canned kind

October 24, 2010

pumpkin1 See these two beauties?  I picked them up two for $5 this weekend at the store…my favorite one (you know, Fresh and Easy).  I picked them up with the intention of NOT carving them for decorations.  Nope!  I picked them up to make my own pumpkin puree…like you get in a can…just without the can.

Want to know how to do it?  It is really SO simple!

I found the easiest way to cut them is to start by taking off the top just like you do when carving (you know, cut out a little hat for the guy).

Then, just simply (but very carefully) slice down the sides to cut it in half.  Scrape all the pulp and seeds out (don’t throw those out!  You’ll thank me later), then, in a shallow dish (you may need to, one for each half) place the pumpkin halves cut side down.  Pour about a half inch to an inch of water in the dish.

Pre-heat the oven to 400 and make sure to lower your shelf.  You don’t want it on the very bottom, but if you keep it in the middle the top of the pumpkin will be too high.  Aim for the highest part of the pumpkin to be in the middle of the oven.

Then, put them in the oven and set the timer for 2 hours.  Then wait…once the two hours is up, check to make sure it is soft enough.  You should easily be able to stab it with a fork AND the skin should fairly easily be able to peel off.

Take it out of the oven and let it sit for just a bit.  You want it cool enough to handle, but not too cool just because it gets more difficult to peel.  I found it was easier to peel it in large chunks.  I cut it in about 9 pieces each half.

Once peeled, get out your food processor or blender and start adding the pieces slowly so that they all get pureed well.  Add some nutmeg if you like but remember you can always add nutmeg as you use it as well.  Completely up to you. 

If you find it a bit too thick, add a but of the water leftover from when you baked it. 

I found that I had to push it down a couple times to make sure it all got pureed well.  In the end, it will look like this:

pumpkin2

Yes, that is FRESH pumpkin!  No canned for us this year!  WHOO HOO!

I have taken to freezing all my pre-made items like this in ice cube trays and, once they are frozen, I simply put them in a labeled freezer bag.  It makes it really easy to portion out and not defrost more than we need.  It makes things last a lot longer as well and allows for more variety in meal planning.  Before the freezer trick, I would make a bunch of refried beans and we would have a week worth of Mexican food to use them all up.  Now, I can take out just what we’ll need, defrost it, and if I’m really good, then we only have enough leftovers for lunch the next day.

Two pumpkins gave me A LOT of pumpkin puree.  I’m am planning on using it for all sorts of things:

Pumpkin pancakes

Pumpkin cookies

Pumpkin bread

Pumpkin oatmeal

Pumpkin pie

Pumpkin spaghetti

I’m actually considering getting a few more just in case (it will be a very long time before we can get pumpkins again and, the cans?  They’re seasonal…It’s always good to have extra on hand, right?

What do you use pumpkin for?

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