Before Sunday the only experience I had with whole pumpkins was gutting them and carving Jack-O-Lanterns and the last time I did that was years ago (unfortunately, I think I need to make sure I do it again next year). I’ve also never really cooked much with pumpkin, growing up we never really had anything pumpkin except pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving and our family Christmas celebration, and since moving out I didn’t try till last year because Philip has told me he hates pumpkin. Last year, however, I decided I wanted to make some pumpkin baked goods and I didn’t care if he ate them or not so I bought myself a can of pumpkin puree and baked. That actually was the spark that inspired me to start this blog, unfortunately I hadn’t saved the recipes I used.
So fall rolls around this year and I start seeing pumpkin recipes showing up all over the place, and decide that once again I need to cook with pumpkin this year, and as I recall, Philip didn’t complain about the pumpkin last year. I wanted to take an extra step this year though, and decided that since I’ve been trying to eat fewer processed foods I would go ahead and make my own pumpkin puree. So I looked at several blog posts about this, and I Googled it and everything I looked at said something different so I came to the realization that it didn’t really matter exactly how I did it as long as I baked the pumpkin until the flesh was soft. That being said, here’s how I did it.
1 Sugar Pumpkin (mine was about 4.5lbs)
Preheat the oven to 375
Cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds (since my Jack-O-Lantern carving days I’d forgotten just how difficult it can be to actually get all the seeds and stringy bits out, but I managed it with minimal amounts of pumpkin splattered all over the kitchen)
Cut pumpkin into chunks (I cut it into 8ths)
Place on aluminum foil lined baking pan and bake for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. (I wasn’t sure how to put my pumpkin on the pan, flesh or skin up, and I put it flesh up. I think I’d do that differently next time as the outside layer of flesh turned out a bit tougher than I expected. I actually covered it with aluminum foil about halfway through the baking because I was worried about it drying out too much)
Once the pumpkin is baked so that the flesh is tender (tested with a fork) take it out of the oven and let it cool enough to handle.
Scoop the flesh from the skin and put it in a food processor and blend till smooth.
Find pumpkin recipes to fill your house with the aromas of fall.
I had my frustrations while making this, but mostly because I get impatient. For example, it really is important to let the pumpkin cool before scooping the flesh out, as I nearly burned my hands several times trying to do this step too soon. However, I found it rewarding and feel much better using this puree as opposed to canned because it came from my kitchen and I know that it is pure pumpkin with nothing added.
Now I just have to keep finding recipes that call for pumpkin, not too difficult especially this time of year so expect some pumpkin goodies coming soon.