Wondering what to do with your pumpkins now that Halloween is over? A great way to use left over pumpkins is to make pumpkin puree.
Pumpkin is actually really good for you. It is packed full of Vitamin C, Riboflavin, Potassium, Vitamin E, Thiamin, Vitamin B6, Folate, and minerals like Copper, Manganese, Iron, Magnesium and Phosphorus.
And get this.
One cup of pumpkin provides 245% of your daily Vitamin A allowance.
Now that you know how good it is for you, I'll show you how to make your own pumpkin puree from scratch.
Gather your pumpkins. Don't try to use a pumpkin that has been carved and hanging out on your porch for weeks.
I didn't carve any of my pumpkins, I just stacked them next to each other for a more 'harvesty' display rather than 'Halloweeny'
This is a pie pumpkin also known as sugar pumpkins. They are smaller than the carving pumpkins and have a sweeter taste. You can use a carving pumpkin, the taste will just be a little less pronounced. But pumpkin recipes always call for so many strong spices like cinnamon and nutmeg that a carving pumpkin would do just fine.
Slice it in half with a sharp knife.
Scoop out the guts and cut out the stem. I have found that using an ice-cream scoop is perfect for getting all the stringy seeds out.
Chop up the pumpkin. I cut it into about 8 chunks.
Next throw them in your pressure cooker. If you don't have a pressure cooker you can lay them on a cookie sheet and cook them in the oven for 1 1/2 hrs at 375.
This is what I love about pressure cookers. I could cook this in the oven for 1 1/2 hours or I could throw it in my pressure cooker for 4 minutes! It saves so much time and energy costs.
When the 4 minutes are up, use the quick release method to release the steam and let your pumpkin pieces cool. I moved mine to a plate to cool faster.
After your pumpkin has cooled, scrape off the flesh and toss it in a blender or food processor. One pumpkin will yield anywhere from 2-4 cups of puree.
Blend until smooth. (If you have trouble, add a little water. Just decrease the amount of liquid called for in your recipe later) You may want to do this in a couple of batches.
Doesn't that look so much better than what you buy in the can? Why would you ever buy canned pumpkin puree now that you know how easy it is to make yourself?
You can use this puree for pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin muffins or baby food.
I am proud to say that I have never bought a jar of baby food. I love making my own baby food and knowing my girls are getting the healthiest food possible, not loaded with a ton of preservatives, salt or sugar.
This pumpkin puree freezes so well.
For the baby food, I just pour it into an ice-cube tray and then transfer the cubes into a freezer bag once they're frozen. The cubes make the perfect serving sizes so I just grab one or two out of the bag when I need one.
I also freeze puree for me to cook with later. (You could can it yourself if you would like but I feel freezing is more convenient. One store-bought can of pumpkin puree is about 1 3/4 C. But, I freeze mine in 1 cup measurements.There are recipes like pancakes that don't call for a full can so I like them in smaller increments because I can always just double up if I need to.
I found the cleanest way to get the right amount of puree into my bag is to put my bag into the measuring cup first then fill it with the puree. That way you're not scooping the puree then trying to get it all in the bag without making a mess.
Label your bags and freeze for a later date.
Or if you can't wait...
Pull out your favorite pumpkin recipe and get cookin'. I made chocolate chip pumpkin bread. It has such a warm, comforting taste. Just perfect to eat during the blizzard of a snow storm we got hit with last night.