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Monday, November 12, 2012

Tis the season for Punpkins

This is a first for me.  I never really thought about making my own pumpkin puree until I saw the cute, little pie pumpkins at Trader Joe's. I ended up getting a few more pumpkins from Freecycle (yea!) and so made a giant batch of 7 pie pumpkins. Ambitious… I realized this about half way through the process.

Even though this is my first pumpkin cooking journey, I figured it was worth writing about and I have no idea when I will do this again. 

Before I heated the oven I did my research. There are a few ways to get the good stuff. You can cut it up and stick it in the oven. You can chop it up and toss it into a slow cooker. Or you can do what I did… simply deposit the pumpkins into the oven.
The simple way, or so it seemed. I coated the pumpkins with coconut oil and put them in there at 400 degrees. It took a little over an hour but then they cut like butter and the seeds just fell out with only a little scraping.

I set up with the cutting board area. A little bowl for the seeds (planning on roasting them later) and a huge bowl for the flesh of the pumpkins. Separating the seeds from the hot stringy goop was the part that took a long time and made quite a mess. Every time I had to stop I had to scrub my whole arms.

I noticed that the smaller the pumpkin, the more seeds and water there was.

When I was done cutting up the pumpkins I looked online again. I noticed that each website I came across used either a blender or a food processor to puree the stuff. What a mess! I decided to use my immersion blender. Much easier I think.

Looking at the puree, I decided that I needed to strain the orange puree. I know you can use a paper towel, but I just happen to have had some new cheesecloth. I rigged up a bowl with a large colander (I rarely use this but it sure comes in handy to have!) containing the cheesecloth. Once I had the pumpkin inside, I covered it with foil and stuck it in the refrigerator overnight.
In the Fridge on top of my batch of Granola Bars

Please note that I started this process at 3pm Sunday with a brief pause for dinner and putting kids in the shower and bed, I finally stuck the puree in the refrigerator at 8pm.

I picked this up again the next day. 

I took the juice and saved it in a jar. I ended up using some of it in place of water in a batch of pancakes. No need to let the nutrition go to waste...
Check out all this juice!

I started portioning out the pumpkin for freezing. I find it very interesting that pumpkin cannot be home canned...

Plus extra for pie!
Double bagged for the freezer.
 My husband saw what I was doing and asked for pumpkin pie… so I ended up with 6 portions to freeze and 2 pumpkin pies (that were really good! And surprisingly easy to make).

One pie did not last long. I mixed a couple recipes that I found on allrecipes with one I found from Paula Dean. It is a really good thing I made the other one to freeze for latter!

Have you ever experimented with pumpkins?

Shared with DIY Home, Monday Mania, Recipe Exchange, Frugally Sustainable, Should be MoppingCheerios and Lattes and Mostly Homemade.