~Day One of Pumpkin Week~
We are well into "Pumpkin Season" and I've been wanting to make pumpkin puree to use for several favorite recipes for Fall. I recently bought 7 sugar pumpkins from our local produce market just for this purpose. I do keep commercial canned pumpkin in the pantry, but there's nothing like using homemade when it's available. If you've never tried making your own, it's easier than you probably think!
After you've picked out small, unblemished sugar pumpkins, you'll want to wash and dry each one. Then cut the top off and cut it in half.
Next, scoop out all of the seeds (save for roasting if you'd like) and scrape out as many of the stringy fibers as you can leaving the pumpkin flesh intact. I used a couple of tools from the Halloween carving kit.
Then cut each piece again so that your pumpkin is now quartered. Place all of your pumpkin pieces on parchment lined baking sheets.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. I decided to use both ovens since I had so many slices and was able to get the roasting done quickly.
Place your baking sheets in the oven and roast for 45 minutes to one hour.
The pumpkin should be fork tender, skins wrinkled and beginning to separate from the pumpkin flesh.
If the skins aren't wrinkled and easily peeled away, leave in oven a bit longer.
The skin should look similar to the above photo and be separating like in the photos below.
Pull the skins away from the flesh and scrape as much flesh from the skins as possible. Place a little at a time (maybe 4 slices) into the bowl of a food processor and puree for 10-20 seconds at a time, scraping sides of bowl down if necessary. Process until the puree is smooth.
If you don't have a food processor, you can use a blender (just be sure to not liquefy your pumpkin) or use a food mill.
If you aren't using your puree immediately, you can store it in a bowl in the refrigerator for a few days. I like to press a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the puree before placing the lid on the bowl. This keeps liquid from pooling on top of the puree.
If you would like to store your puree for a longer period of time, it can be frozen. I like to use wide mouth pint jars with the white plastic freezer/pantry lids.
Pumpkin puree is too thick to safely process it for pantry storage. It needs to either be used immediately or stored in the freezer.
I was able to make about 28 cups of puree from the 7 sugar pumpkins I roasted. Check back each day this week for a different pumpkin recipe.