Saturday, November 10, 2012

Roasted Pureed Pumpkins

I have been wanting to blog about this for a while.  We have had other busy projects going on.  I am desperately doing a house purge...again.  I think this is something that needs to happen every 3-4 months in such a tiny house.  But, we are nearly done with that... then back to business as usual!

I have a guilty pang when I have thrown out jack-o-lanterns (and their seeds) in the past.  It is just easier to get rid of them...instead of cooking them, pureeing them, and preserving them.  I've always loved having the pumpkin puree...but this is my second annual...consistent pumpkin puree party!

I think it has actually become a tradition in the home!  Its always fun to realize you have a new tradition!

Here's what you need:

Large Cookie Sheet with ridges or sides
Food Processor, or amazing blender
Pumpkins (Maybe that should be #1 on the list)
Measuring Bowl
Zip Lock Freezer bags (1 qt or smaller if available)

Here's your how-to:

Roasting Pumpkins

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Wash your pumpkin/s well, ensuring that you have removed any and all dirt from the skin.  But it into quarters if it is large, or just in half for a small pumpkin.  I place my pumpkin skin side down on the cookie sheet.  Add a little water to cover the bottom of the pan.  Place in the heated oven, and let roast.

The time depends on the size of the pumpkin.  My pumpkins were about the size of basketballs.  They roasted for approximately 75 minutes.  Naturally, the smaller they are, the less time it takes.  I typically check the pumpkins every 30 minutes.  They pumpkins will be done when you can pierce them easily with a knife or fork (they are tender).

When done, remove them from the oven and let cool.

Note:  I use my pumpkin for a wide variety of recipes...from soups to cakes, so I do not like to season them at all.  If you are using your pumpkin for something specific, then feel free to season it how you wish.  

Pumpkin Puree

After the pumpkin has cooled enough to handle, I will peel the pumpkin to separate the meat from the skin, and then chop the meat into chunks.  I then fill my food processor with the tender chunks, add about 1 Tbs purified water and puree.  I puree until smooth, then transfer into a bowl to measure as I go.  Repeat process...

My food processor is quite small.  It only holds 3 cups at a time.  Oh how I wish I could have a 10 cup food processor.  Maybe I should put it on my Christmas list.  It would get some good use here!.... or better yet..... A Vitamix!  Now THAT would get a lot of good use here in the Curtis household!  Oh the things a Vitamix can do!  Hint Hint -to Hoss! He he he

My dream Vitamix

Once all of the pumpkin has been pureed, I begin the separation process.  I usually use a 1 cup measuring cup.  I scoop and level 1 cup (or 2 cups) into each freezer bag.  Be sure to label and date your bags, and place in your freezer!

One day, I will venture to the actual bottling of the pumpkin puree...but I don't have the necessary tools yet!

After all three of my pumpkins were roasted, diced and pureed, I had 24 cups!  That will last a while!
Now you have "ready to go pumpkin puree" to add to your breads, cakes, soups, stews, spaghetti.... or whatever you can think up!  I just pull out a bag a few hours before I need it, or place it in warm water to thaw when pressed for time!

Alternate method:

Boiling Pumpkins

To boil your pumpkins, quarter your pumpkin (or 8th it if it is large), and place in a large pot with water.  Set on the stove and heat to medium high.  Let the water slowly come to a boil, and boil until the pumpkins are tender.  It has been a few years since I have done it this way, but it should take around 40-60 minutes.. ISH.  I do not know for sure.  You'll just have to check it often with a fork or knife.

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