Okay, so I procrastinate a little bit… I started writing this two years ago because of the shortage in canned pumpkin caused by excessive rainfalls in the areas where pumpkins are grown for canning purposes. Well, luckily the holidays roll around every year, only this year cans o’ pumpkin are a plenty. When you do your holiday baking this year and want to insure you’re getting pure pumpkin puree sans the preservatives, make your own fresh pumpkin puree. Truly, it’s not at all difficult.
DO NOT use jack-o-lantern pumpkin – the are meant to carve and put on your porch for trick-or-treaters to come by and smash. Jack-o-lantern pumpkins are water, stringy, and pretty tasteless. Select sugar pumpkins, pie pumpkins, or sugar pie pumpkins – I’ve seen them called all three. One 5-pound pumpkin will yield around 4 cups of puree (a 15-ounce can is about 2 cups).
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. I line a baking sheet with foil or kitchen parchment for easy clean up. Cut the top from the pumpkin and cut in half and scoop out the seeds and membrane.
At this point you can cut into smaller pieces… but, why? Place cut pumpkins on your baking sheet cut side up. It really doesn’t matter which side is up. I prefer the pumpkin to get some caramelization for a little deeper flavor. You can also put the cut side down in a baking pan with a little water and cover with foil and steam them instead. Roast for 45 minutes until fork tender. Remove from oven and let cool. Scoop flesh from the shell and put in a food processor or blender. If using a blender, you may have to add a little water to get it going. Blitz the pumpkin until you have a smooth puree.
It’s that easy. So, support your local farmer’s and green markets and get to roastin’!
Peace – J