Pumpkin Preppin’ 101

20171102_220241Every year the produce section of the local markets are flooded with these glorious orange globes of squash goodness.  Native to North America, it been used as a food product for a longer time than the past few hundred years where they seem to end up in a pie more often than not.  As a member of the winter squash family, they are one of the most grown squash variation with about 1.5 billion of pumpkins grown in the United States per year (that also includes the ones grown for ornamental and animal feeds).

The best part of prepping your own pumpkin for baking and whatever else is that when you buy canned, unless it says 100% pumpkin, it can contain other winter squashes like butternut.

PUMPKIN PUREE

  • 1 pie pumpkin
  • heavy knife
  • cutting board
  • spoon
  • tin foil
  • cookie sheet
  • submersion blender, food processor, food mill, or hands

Preheat oven to 375F

Start by destemming your pumpkin and chopping it in half.  Scoop out all the seeds and the stringy membrane.  It’s edible, but doesn’t mix well in the puree.  Give them a good rinse under the tap to make sure you’ve removed any stringy bits that may be stuck.  Wrap the cut portion with tin foil and place cut side down on a cookie sheet.  Place in oven and bake for 1 1/2 hours, or till tender.

Once the baking is done, turn off the oven and leave them inside.  Let them cook down in the oven and let the residual heat make them extra tender and fall of the skin soft.

Now that they are nice and cool, the skin will peel right on off nice and easily.  Make sure any overbaked little bits are discarded and any stringy bits you might have missed.  After you have all that pulp ready, it’s time to puree.  Whatever your weapon of choice is, blenders, mills, processors, or hands, whip it down to a superfine paste.  And your done.  You can use it right away, refrigerate up to four days, or freeze it.

Time to get to cooking.

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