Have you noticed all of the pumpkin flavored recipes floating around social media lately? Pumpkin muffins, pumpkin waffles, pumpkin breads, pumpkin rolls. It seems like the day after Labor Day the whole world began craving pumpkin flavored everything!
As I was looking over these recipes and noticed that most of them called for “canned pumpkin puree”, I thought to myself, “Seriously?” Why would you buy the canned stuff when it’s so simple and easy to make your own pumpkin puree from scratch? After all, pumpkins and gourds weren’t originally created just to be Fall decorations; they are meant to be consumed!
In fact, pumpkins have some amazing health benefits. It is one of the very low calorie vegetables, and contains no saturated fats or cholesterol. What is does contain is lots of dietary fiber, anti-oxidants, minerals, vitamins. Pumpkin is a storehouse of many anti-oxidant vitamins such as vitamin-A, vitamin-C and vitamin-E. It is also rich source of minerals like copper, calcium, potassium and phosphorus. (For more info on the nutritional value of pumpkins, click here.)
Maybe it was these health benefits that drove my Mom to make and freeze her own fresh pumpkin puree each year. (Or maybe it was just the delicious taste of her pumpkin pies!) Whatever her reason for doing it, making pumpkin puree was a yearly tradition at our house. Just as my Mom taught me this easy process, now I’m passing it onto you. So let’s starting the process of turning this a long neck pumpkin into your favorite pumpkin treat.
Making Your Fresh Pumpkin Puree
1. Buy a long neck pumpkin. Wash thoroughly.
2. Remove the skin from the pumpkin.
There are several ways to do this. One way is to use a carrot peeler. This tool removes the skin easily, but it makes a mess. My favorite way to do it is to use an electric knife.
3. After the skin is removed, cut the pumpkin into 2 inch pieces.
4. When you get to the bottom, you will need to remove the seeds from the inside of the pumpkin with a spoon, and then cut the rest into chunks.
5. Place pumpkin pieces into a large pot with about 1 inch of water. You want to steam the pumpkin pieces.
6. Every 5 minutes check to see which pumpkin pieces are soft. Remove those pieces from the pot and place them in a blender. Allow the rest of the pieces to continue steaming. Check again in 5 minutes. Continue until all pumpkin pieces are cooked. It shouldn’t take more than 20 minutes.
7. Take the pumpkin pieces that are soft and puree them in the blender or food processor until it is smooth.
8. Pour the smooth pumpkin puree into clean plastic containers.
If you’re going to use the pumpkin puree right away, you’re ready to go! If you are freezing the puree for later use, allow the pumpkin to cool, cover the plastic containers and place in the freezer.
When you need pumpkin, just defrost it and use it in any recipe just like you would canned pumpkin. But who needs canned pumpkin when it’s this easy to have delicious, preservative free pumpkin fresh from the farm?
Happy Pumpkin Season!!!