Thursday, September 9, 2010

Homemade Pumpkin Puree

Evidently there was a pumpkin shortage last year. I've been unable to get any canned pumpkin in quite awhile. I got tired of waiting so I made my own...

My favorite organic stand at the farmer's market had pie pumpkins for $1 each, so we snatched up three of them. From those pumpkins I now have about 16 cups of pumpkin puree. Not bad for $3 and just a little bit of work.

Start by washing off the pumpkin and cutting it in half. Scoop out the seeds (save for roasting) and strings and place cut side down on a baking dish. Pour water into the dish to about 1/4" depth. Roast in a 350 degree oven for about an hour. Test with a knife to see if the skin and flesh can be easily pierced. Note: the pumpkins may appear "caved in" but that's good. Allow to cool slightly and scoop out the flesh. Discard the exterior shell. In a food processor or blender add a small of water at a time to pumpkin to bring to a smooth consistency. You don't want lumps, but you don't want it thin and runny either.

Place puree in a strainer lined with cheesecloth to allow the liquid to drain from the puree and give a good thick consistency. The liquid drained can be used to puree more batches of pumpkin rather than water.

Use in your favorite pumpkin pancakes (Gluten-free version), pumpkin apple muffins, pumpkin trifle, pumpkin cheesecake or other fall delight. Can be frozen in muffin tins or in freezer bags.**

**Tips: Pictured from left to right. When using freezer bags, roll the zipper portion over the outside of the bag when filling. This keeps from getting puree in the tracks and making a mess. When you're ready to close it up unroll the zipper part to stand upright. Seal the bag 4/5 the way and roll out any air in the package. Lay the package flat to freeze.

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