If you are anything like I used to be you probably buy a few pumpkins to set our as decorations. You probably carve one or two with the kids and then, they sit on the porch until the day after Thanksgiving only to be tossed into the garbage due to rot/soft spots/uselessness.
Then you march on down to the super market and buy a can (or two) of pumpkin puree to make a pie.
Well, that's what I always did. I was always told that making your own pumpkin puree was SO hard and SOOO time consuming that you might as well just spend a dollar on a can of puree.
I am hear to tell you the truth. It is NOT hard. It may be a little messy, just like carving a jack-o-lantern is, but it is NOT very time consuming (especially if you do this on a rainy, cool fall day that would be spent indoors anyway).
The other truth about homemade pumpkin puree...
THERE IS NO COMPARISON TO STORE BOUGHT PUREE!
What you will need:
At least one pumpkin (they say the smaller ones are better for pies, but you can use any size)
A blender or food processor (I used my Cuisinart hand blender)
Freezer bags (number will depend on how much pumpkin you are pureeing. I used quart size bags to store 2 cup portions.)
And that is it! So simple!
So, like I said, "they" say using small pumpkins is better for pies, but this is the monster I first pureed...
Ha! Not very small, right?
I chose this pumpkin because my husband's uncle grew it and he says these are the best type of pumpkins for pies. Through all my online research I could not figure what type of pumpkin this is, but it is pale in color compared to a normal orange pumpkin.
First, pre-heat your oven to 375.
To start the process you will first cut the pumpkin in half and clean out the "guts". This is so much easier than making a jack-o-lantern because you don't have to clean it out through a small hole. I only took a couple of minutes to clean this big one!
I kept the seeds in a bowl and later roasted them. Stayed tuned for that AWESOME recipe soon!
You will want to then cut the halves into half, making quarter size pieces like above. You can make them smaller if you need to for your oven.
Then put as many as you can on 1 or 2 cookie sheets. I put them with the skin down. This way they do not loose all the juices into the oven and the pumpkin ends up being much more moist.
Bake them in your 375 degree oven for roughly 45 min before you check the tenderness. Once they are fork tender they are done. The time will vary with each pumpkin. You want it to feel like a sweet potato that is ready to eat.
Once they are done, let them cool. Do not burn your hands!
When they are cool use a metal spoon and start scooping and scraping all the flesh off of the skin. Put the pumpkin pieces in a bowl. They will look like this...
I pureed numerous pumpkins on this day. Some of them needed some of the juices drained while others needed water added to them during pureeing. Use your judgement to determine what yours need.
I kept mine at the consistency of baby food. I've made a lot of that in my life, so that's all I can relate it too :)
Like I mentioned before, I used my hand blender.
And pureed my pumpkins.
And pureed my pumpkins.
LOL! Just kidding! It took just a few minutes per batch.
When it was at a consistency I liked I just scooped 2 cup portions into quart size Ziploc bags.
I labeled them with the year and where the pumpkin came from, as well as the portion size (in case I forget).
I like to label where they came from so I can compare tastes. Then I will know which ones are worth pureeing next year. This monster came from my husbands Uncle Tom. He grows them every year and lets us all pick them out to take home. We LOVE his pumpkins!
Lastly, stick the bags in the freezer and use when you are ready.
Use them for pies.
Use them for breads and muffins.
I am going to try pumpkin oatmeal!
I hope you enjoy your pumpkin pureeing!
Comment below on your experience.
And Happy Fall 'yall!