pumpkins

Pumpkin Puree

Pumpkins are abundant in the autumn – and are a delicious ingredient in many recipes. You can prepare pumpkin for baking at home rather than buying canned pumpkin and save the seeds to dry and roast too! Smaller pumpkins  (sugar pie pumpkins, or other smaller varieties) are typically better than their larger ‘jack-o-lantern’ counterparts.

There are three ways to transform an uncooked pumpkin into the puree used in baking:

Boiling

  • Cut the pumpkin in half, discarding the stringy insides.
  • Peel the pumpkin and cut it into chunks.
  • Place in a saucepan and cover with water.
  • Bring to a boil and cook until the pumpkin chunks are tender.
  • Let the chunks cool, then purée the flesh in a food processor or mash it with a potato masher or food mill.

BAKING

  • Cut the pumpkin in half and discard the stem section and stringy pulp.
  • In a shallow baking dish, place the two halves face down and cover with foil.
  • Bake in a preheated 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) oven for about 1½ hours for a medium-sized sugar pumpkin, or until tender.
  • Once the baked pumpkin has cooled, scoop out the flesh and puree or mash it.
  • For silky smooth custards or soups, press the pumpkin puree through a sieve.

Microwave

  • Cut the pumpkin in half, discarding the stringy insides.
  • Microwave on high power for seven minutes per pound, turning pieces every few minutes to promote even cooking. Process as above.
  • You can refrigerate your fresh pumpkin purée for up to three days, or store it in the freezer up to six months, so you can enjoy fall pumpkins for months to come.

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