A couple of years ago, there was a shortage of canned pumpkin. I couldn’t find it anywhere. I did eventually find some, and stocked up quite a bit. But while I was on my search for it, people kept telling me to just make my own. I thought that was ridiculous. I still thought it was when my friend Leslie asked me if I wanted a pumpkin to cook. But the more I thought about it and the purpose behind this blog, which is to try new things, I decided to go for it.
Making your own pumpkin puree is pretty easy! It is a tad time-consuming, but there is nothing to it. First, you want to make sure you have a sugar pumpkin, which is smaller than a pumpkin you carve. You want to get rid of the stem, so cut just below it. Then, cut the pumpkin in half. I had Matt do it because I was afraid I would cut myself or make the pumpkin go flying.
Next, get rid of all the pumpkin seeds and that stringy stuff. I did this by first pulling out as many seeds as I could with my hand. Save the seeds! Then I used a spoon and scraped all the stringy stuff and remaining seeds. This is what makes it so time-consuming.
Place the pumpkin halves cut side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes (time may vary based on the size of the pumpkin). You know it is done when you can easily push a fork through the skin. Once the pumpkin is cool enough to handle, use a knife to separate the skin from the pumpkin flesh. To help get it all out, I used an ice cream scoop. It all came out really easy.
Put it all in a food processor and puree. Once it is completely smooth, put it in a piece of cheesecloth over a bowl. You want to do this to get rid of all the water in the puree. I let this sit for a little over an hour.
I read that you should use the puree right away but I am not ready to, so I put it in the freezer. I am sure I will be making a pumpkin based recipe very soon. I can’t wait to try it. I’m curious to see how different it is going to taste in a dessert compared to canned pumpkin. And I will definitely be making more of my own pumpkin puree!
Now, I told you to save your pumpkin seeds because that is what I did. After I cleaned them up, I wanted to roast them with cinnamon and sugar. They would have been really good, if they didn’t burn. The two that didn’t burn were pretty tasty!
I will try again though. Probably stick with the original…salted, roasted pumpkin seeds.