Each year, eighty percent of the pumpkins grown in the USA are harvested in October. Commercially canned puree is probably the most familiar edible form of this popular autumn produce, however the mild, slightly sweet flesh of fresh pumpkin makes an excellent dish when baked, boiled, sauteed, steamed or microwaved. The pumpkin seeds, as well, may be toasted to create a marvelously tasty and healthy snack.
This article will discuss the process of selecting the proper cooking pumpkin and the technique for preparing homemade pumpkin puree.
Selecting and Storing Fresh Pumpkins…
How to Prepare Homemade Pumpkin Puree…
The following recipe will yield a minimum of 1-3/4 cups of puree — equal to 1 (15-oz.) can of solid pack pumpkin puree. (Three pounds of fresh pumpkin will yield about 3 cups mashed cooked pumpkin.) Any leftover puree may be frozen – see freezing instructions below. Use this puree in recipes or substitute it in the same amount in any recipe calling for solid pack canned pumpkin.
1. Choose a 3 to 4 pound sugar (‘pie’) pumpkin for preparing puree. (Under no circumstances cook or eat a carved Halloween pumpkin as the cut surfaces breed bacteria.)
2. Preheat oven to 350F (175C).
3. Just prior to baking, rinse the pumpkin under cold water to remove any dirt or debris from the outside of the pumpkin; wipe dry with a cloth or paper towel.
4. Split the pumpkin in half and remove the seeds and stringy fibers by scraping the insides with a metal spoon. Discard fibers and save seeds for toasting, if desired.
5. Rub the cut surfaces of the pumpkin with canola oil and place the 2 halves (cut-side-down) in a roasting pan. Add 1 cup of water.
6. Bake in preheated oven until pumpkin flesh is tender when pierced with a knife (approximately 90 minutes).
7. Remove the pumpkin halves from the oven and place them on a cutting board or other flat surface to cool.
8. When cool enough to handle, scoop the baked flesh out of each pumpkin half with a spoon.
9. Puree pumpkin in a food processor fitted with a metal chopping blade or mash by hand.
10. Place the puree in a sieve lined with a paper-towel or coffee filter and set over a deep bowl. Let drain,