November 2, 2010

homemade pumpkin puree

{One last look of longing from our Jack-o-Lantern.  He had a good life and has now been re-purposed.}

Apparently my husband is not a fan of food waste.  I probably could have guessed this, but I hadn't really thought about it directly.  I did know that one of his premises for our year without eating out was to limit and become more aware of our family food waste.  I didn't know eating our Halloween pumpkin would fall into the category of not wasting food.  And so, within forty eight hours our pumpkin was picked, purchased, carved, lit, enjoyed and roasted and now we have nine cups of delicious autumn goodness waiting to be utilized in our fridge.

First things first.  Preheat your oven to 350F.  Cut your pumpkin in half.

{I felt a bit like the Joker as I made my cut.}

Next, take a moment and clean up the stringy bits.  If you bought a pumpkin just for pie, remove the seeds.  If you know what's good for you clean them, toss them in olive oil and kosher salt, roast them and consume them. 

Carving pumpkins are more stringy and watery than the smaller pie pumpkins.  I don't worry too much though because it all works itself out in the end and I had a carving pumpkin to work with.

{Look Ma!  My melon baller!  You can see the stringiness of the pumpkin.  It was a bit like spaghetti squash.}

Then, throw your pumpkin on a cookie sheet skin up.  I cut the face half of my pumpkin so it wouldn't collapse on itself when it cooked.  I didn't bother with the bottom.  I also didn't chop off the stem because I was lazy.

{Ready for roasting.}

Cover your pumpkin loosely with some tin foil and pop in the oven.  Roast for about an hour and a half.  I knew mine was done because I poked it with my finger. 

I don't have a kitchen timer and am a real mess when it comes to keeping track of time.  Mine worked out just fine right around when it started smelling like heaven.  It's just like roasting any squash, when you can smell it, go ahead and give it a poke.  If the skin gives a bit, it's time.

{The stem pulled right off when I attempted to lift the lid from the baking sheet.}

After your pumpkin has finished roasting, let it cool.  I let mine sit for some time as I got a bit distracted.  You can start with the pureeing process while the pumpkin is still warm.

{I am not an effective scooper with my left hand.}

Scrape the pulp out of the skin with a spoon.  It will feel a bit like spooning softened ice cream.  I used my food processor to puree, but use what you have.  A blender, a hand held mixer, a food mill or even a fork and some elbow grease will yield equally excellent results.

 {Much easier.}

I didn't have any problems with the skin, it is much firmer than that of a roast acorn squash or even a kabocha.  I was surprised how easy it was to scrape right up to the skin without piercing it.

{I was a bit worried about the stringiness before I pureed.}

Puree, blend, mill or mash the pulp until it is the consistency of baby food.

{But it all worked out.}

The puree looked a bit wet to me, but after letting it sit a bit it seemed to be holding its liquid.  Before I use it I plan on letting it drain through a bit of cheese cloth or fine mesh sieve.  I just have to acquire cheesecloth or a fine mesh sieve first.

And that my friends is all she wrote.  I plan on using some for savory dishes and some for sweet and so I didn't season mine yet.  I just let it cool completely and stashed it in the fridge to deal with by the weekend.

{Nine cups.}

I was a wee bit intimidated by the process before I began, but it was one of the easiest kitchen projects I have tackled in ages.  I think the thing that I was most impressed by was that for $3.40 we had our pumpkin and will eat it too.

This was so easy that I hung curtains, made a second attempt at my big dye project and rearranged the living room while the pumpkin was roasting.  Apparently I had built up some domestic willpower in order to tackle this simple task.
This post is linked up with Tasty Tuesdays hosted by Jen at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam.  Please feel free to play along.  I had no idea that today's theme would be Quality Kitchen Tools when I tackled this topic.  While I could have done this with a fork using my food processor made this project less than 20 minutes of actual work.  What is your most treasured kitchen tool?

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