Every May I plant a large variety of pumpkins (you can read exactly which ones here). By September we are swimming in pumpkins. Seriously, if you come to my house in the Fall and peek behind the curtains, under tables, or inside closets, chances are you will find a stack of pumpkins. Pumpkins serve many functions at our house: entertainment (following trailing pumpkin vines through the garden on the hunt for the fat fruits hidden under bushes and among flowers is a summer morning ritual around here), decoration (all of my pumpkins spend at least a few weeks on the porch providing color through the early fall months), and finally food. We roast as many pumpkins as we can stand to roast (the inevitable remaining pumpkins go into the compost pile--those suckers will heat up your pile!) Pumpkins make fantastic produce for saving as they will keep for months when properly cured (just stick freshly cut pumpkins in a dry sunny spot for a few days after cutting and the skin should brighten and harden, rendering them shelf stable).
If your in-laws finding pumpkins hidden in the guest bed is not your idea of country charm, you might want to puree and freeze your pumpkins for later use, this way they are easily ready to be added to soups, pies, and breads, and they occupy a lot less space than whole pumpkins. The puree will also last frozen until next year's harvest so you never ever have to resort to canned pumpkin. A note on canned pumpkin, almost all canned pumpkins is actually blended with squash. Libby's is the exception and they do offer an organic option but it will absolutely NOT taste as good as home made pumpkin puree AND aluminum cans are coated with plastic so your pie and soup filling has been marinating in plastic for lord knows how long when you crack it open.
The good news is, making your own
pumpkin puree is SO easy! Here it is in less than 10 steps:
1. Cut pumpkin in half and remove seeds
2. Place flesh side down on an oiled baking sheet.
3. Coat outside of pumpkin with oil (this makes removing the skin easier).
4. Roast at 400 for an hr or longer depending on the size of the pumpkin (have I mentioned how good your house is going to smell?)
5. Remove pumpkin when skin begins to lift, bubble, and brown.
6. Allow pumpkins cool then pull skin off (this should be SO easy).
7. Place roasted fruit into a food processor and blend until smooth.
8. Freeze cooled puree in glass jars (or ziplock baggies) in 1-4 cup measurements for easy use later on.
That is it!
Now that you have mounds and mounds of your very own pumpkin puree you can start to dream about all the amazing things you are going to make with it. Be sure to imagine how you will feign humility when presenting your pumpkin delicatessens: "Oh this? Its just a simple recipe I whipped up from a few of the organic pumpkins I grew."
Check back for my favorite pumpkin recipes!