Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, But whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and who meditates on his law day and night.
Today I was all ready to post some really cute pictures of my grandkids making pumpkin pie when they were visiting us last year. Then I realized that as part of that recipe I refer to making your own pumpkin puree. So, I decided I better not get the pie before the puree and all the cute pictures of my grandsons will just have to wait until tomorrow!! Okay, maybe one picture now ….
Last year we grew Sugar Pumpkins for the first time. We harvested the pumpkins and made pumpkin puree. It turns out it is really easy to do! All winter I have been able to make a variety of pumpkin recipes with the freshly frozen puree.
I have used up our supply and was readily looking forward to this year’s crop. The pumpkins are growing and looking good right now, but we are getting so much rain that several of our other veggies (acorn squash and tomatoes) have been less than perfect because of too much water! I know one thing for sure, I couldn’t be a farmer’s wife with my livelihood dependent on mother nature! Too hot, too cold, too much rain, not enough rain — where does it end? For me, I hope it ends with a little supply of fresh pumpkin puree this fall. Just writing about pumpkin is making me salivate for a slice of fresh pumpkin pie! Oh my goodness, will my love affair with food never end!
First – Get your pie pumpkin
“Pie pumpkins” are smaller, sweeter, less grainy textured pumpkins than the usual jack-o-lantern types. Grocery stores usually carry them in late September through December in the U.S. They are also very easy to grow and fun for the kids to watch through the summer and pick in the fall.
Just like selecting any squash, look for one that is firm, no bruises or soft spots,
and a good orange color.
Pie pumpkins are small, usually only 6 inches in diameter. You can usually
obtain about 2 or 3 cups or puree per pumpkin.
Prepare the pumpkin for cooking
Wash the exterior of the pumpkin in cool or warm water — no soap. Cut the pumpkin in half. A serrated knife in a sawing motion works best – a smooth knife is more likely to slip and cut something other than the pumpkin! 🙁 Remove the stem.
Remove the seeds…
And scrape the insides. You want to get out that stringy, dangly stuff that coats the inside surface. A heavy ice cream scoop or a large metal spoon works great for this.
SAVE THE SEEDS
The seeds can be used either to plant pumpkins next year, or roasted to eat this year! Place them in a bowl of water and rub them between your hands. then pick out the orange buts (throw that away) and drain off the water. Spread them out on a clean towel or paper towel to dry and they’re ready to save for next year’s planting or roast.
Put it in a microwaveable bowl
I find a Corning Ware dish with a lid works really well. You may need to cut the
pumpkin further to make it fit, however the fewer the number of pieces, the easier it will to scoop out the cooked pumpkin afterwards. Pour an inch of water in the bowl, cover it, and put in the microwave.
Cook the pumpkin until soft
Cook for 15 minutes on high, check to see if it is soft, then repeat in shorter
increments of time until it is soft enough to easily scoop out. Normally it takes 20 or 30 minutes in total. Note: You CAN cook it on the stove top or cook in the oven, but it will take almost twice as long or more.
Using a broad, smooth spoon (such as a tablespoon) gently lift and scoop the cooked pumpkin out of the skin. It should separate easily an fairly large chucks, if the pumpkin is cooked enough.
Puree the pumpkin
To get a nice, smooth consistency, I use a food processor. Pulse a few seconds at a time to start, then turn it on briefly and you will have wonderfully smooth natural, freshly processed pumpkin! You can use a mixer, or a hand blender, whatever you have. A regular blender works, too (unless it is full of Margaritas to get you through the pumpkin cooking event! )
The pumpkin is now cooked and ready for the
pie recipe. The puree can be stored in the refrigerator up to 7 days or frozen up to 3 months, unless you freeze it in a vacuum sealed bag — a year later mine is still good!
Tomorrow I will blog about pumpkin pie from the garden to the table. Get ready because this is fun AND delicious eating!
Finish margaritas with the satisfaction of a job well done!
AND JUST IN CASE YOU WERE WONDERING …
Q. Where were the first pumpkins grown?