Saturday, November 21, 2009

Making pumpkin puree

One of the things I'm asked a lot, is how to process pumpkins.  Its very easy and while the whole process takes a while, it doesn't take much of your actual hands on time.  We got these pumpkins on a field trip with our wonderful nature club.  They've decorated the house for about a month and its time for them to do their part. 

First you need to wash the outside of the pumpkin.  They can get dirty and you don't want that in your food.

Then cut them in half.  This is actually harder than it looks.  The shells of pie pumpkins are very hard.  Hubby used my cleaver to whack these pumpkins for me.  We ended up with shards of pumpkin and seeds all over the place.  You then scrape the guts out.  I saved some seeds for next year's garden.  I'll show the process in another post.  The remaining seeds and insides went to the chickens, although you may want to roast the seeds.  My family isn't big on pumpkin seeds, but the chickens are.


Then lay the pumpkins cut side down in a baking pan.  I slide it in the oven and then put about a quarter of an inch of water in the pan to help them steam.  Let them bake at 350 for about 50-60 minutes.  Then pull them out and let them cool for 30 minutes so that they can be safely handled.


Scoop the flesh out and put it into the food processor or blender to break up the strings.



I then put the pureed pumpkin into a colander lined with paper towels or cheesecloth.  There is a remarkable amount of water in that pumpkin, so be sure to do this step.


Lastly, package it up.  I like to put mine in bags with 2 C of puree, the same amount in a can of pumpkin.  They can be stored in the freezer for quite a while.  Ours is usually gone by the following summer.  I got 6 cups of puree from 3 medium sized pie pumpkins.  Considering how many pumpkins will grow from just a few seeds, its not a bad option for the garden.  

9 comments:

kitsapFG said...

I have been processing about 1 pumpkin a week (on average) trying to work my way through the pile of pumpkins from our garden. Today I did a small sized one that yielded 4 cups of puree - 2 of which I used immediately to make a pumpkin pie and 2 cups that went into the freezer for future use.

Daphne said...

I tend to store mine in the fridge in one cup increments. I have a cake recipe that calls for one cup so I use that as my measure. I finished my pumpkins and squash and now have 20 cups in the freezer. I'm really wondering if I'll get through it all in a year. I guess if I just made one pie a month I'd be fine. But it just seems like so much right now.

The Mom said...

Kitsap, we don't do lots of pie, but muffins are a big hit at my house.

Daphne, I had so many last year that I didn't grow them this year. Then in July my freezer died and I lost it all. This year mine came from a field trip to a local farm with the kids. That sure is a lot of pumpkin and squash.

Karen Sue said...

I'm kind of new to a lot of DIY food stuff. I always have liked DIY projects with power tools, but now it's kitchen power tools! and the garden. I didn't plant any pumpkins this year and don't know if I'm willing to give up that much space or if I could train them in a certain place and let them grow over an old patio type thing. I have never done anything but jack-o-lanterns with pumpkins. So I'll have to at least try someone else's pie pumpkins next year and see where I might grow some.

The Mom said...

Karen, they are very productive, but do grow everywhere. Look into trellising and you could get away with it.

Michaela Dunn Leeper said...

I just did butternut squash a week ago & posted the pictorial on my blog. I do have 3 pie punkins I need to get on. Hopefully this week.

The Mom said...

Michaela, I never think to do my butternuts like that. They usually get peeled, chunked and roasted with other veggies.

Thomas said...

Thanks for showing how this is done. I tried to make pumpkin gnocchi from homemade puree one time and it just didn't turn out right...now I know that I have to get rid of the excess water!

The Mom said...

Thomas, that should certainly help. Mmmm, pumpkin gnocchi sounds delicious.