There are various ways that you can use a pumpkin puree in a recipe. It is a source of great taste. Making puree from fresh pumpkin is not hard. Furthermore, making it from scratch tastes so much better in comparison to the canned type, and that is motivation enough to take the time
You can make a lot of this recipe and freeze it for later use – especially for the food combinations that require the canned type. Basically, there are three ways that you can prepare the pumpkin puree. You can steam, bake or boil.
Choosing and preparing the pumpkin
The next time you go to the store, look for the pumpkin with the label “pie pumpkins” or “sugar pumpkins.” There are other types of pumpkins mostly used for decorations. You don’t want to go for them as they have more strings and the taste is entirely different. They are stale.
The first thing you do is to cut off the stem. You then slice it in half revealing the seeds and the fleshy part. Get your scooping tool and remove the seeds, as well as, the strings. In this case, a melon baller will do a pretty good job in removing all the strings and the seeds.
To bake the prepared pumpkin, put the halves on a sheet tray with the cut side facing down. If it is upside down – with the cut side up – then it is possible to get edges that have dried out, and this is not what you want. Having the cut side down ensures that the pumpkin is moist throughout the whole process. Besides, you will not need to add any oil if you place it appropriately.
Roast for approximately 45 minutes in a 375 ºF oven. Make sure that the skin becomes puckered and turns dark.
Flip the ready pumpkin halves over, and you will notice that the fleshy part has pulled away from the skin. The insides will also be very tender and mushy.
Use a spoon to scoop all the fleshy part from the skin. Transfer it to a food processor and puree it for 30 seconds. In some cases where you notice the pumpkin is a bit sticky – not that it matters – you can add three tablespoonfuls of water. Your puree will then have a nice texture that you will definitely love. This is until it is quite soft and it will be ready to use in recipes.
Use a large pot to bring slightly salted water to a boil.
Meanwhile, clean the pumpkin under running tap water and get rid of any dirt or any other residue. Use a towel to dry it.
Cut the pumpkin in half after removing the stump. You can use a metal spoon to scoop all the fiber and seeds into another bowl. You can later roast the seeds for another recipe. However, the rest of the innards are useless. Discard them.
Use your knife to cut the pumpkin into small pieces and then peel the skin off.
Add these evenly-sized pieces to the boiling water and wait for about 20-30 minutes. This is until the pumpkin is tender. You can use your knife to check this.
Transfer the ready puree into a blender, food processor or bowl where you will use your hand to puree.
Boil water in a pot that contains a colander or even a vegetable steamer.
In the meantime, clean the pumpkin under cool water to get rid of any dirt and dry with a towel.
Cut it into two pieces and scoop the fibers and the seeds off the fleshy part. You can save the seeds part for later use, or you can discard them together with the innards.
Use your knife to cut the pumpkin into even sizes and peel the skin.
You then place these pieces in a colander or steamer over the water that is boiling. Cover it and let it steam for up to 50 minutes. Keep checking with a knife to make sure it is tender enough.
Put the pieces in a hand-held blender, food processor or a food mill. It all depends on the tool available or the preferred method. Some may feel a food mill does a better job than a hand held blender. The choice is yours. Process it until it is the right texture. As mentioned earlier, you can add a few spoons of water to ensure it is not too thick.
Wait until the puree has cooled appropriately before you can start storing it in the bags.
Storing the puree
Before deciding on storage, make sure that the puree has completely cooled. Don’t throw it anyhow in the freezer as you will not like the results. Don’t be hasty.
Use a storage bag to put about a cupful of puree before you decide whether to refrigerate normally or freeze it. This measurement will ensure that you know the right quantity to use in recipes. Make sure that you seal all the bags leaving just a small opening and then flatten the stored puree with your hand. Push out all the air before dumping the nicely looking stored puree into the fridge.
You can keep the puree refrigerated for five days. Alternatively, you can freeze it and use it for longer. However, it will have a distinct texture which some people may not like. However, the frozen type can go for up to eight months. Don’t be limited in any way and choose the longer period.
Many people may frown upon the idea of making their own pumpkin puree. What they don’t comprehend is that it is actually easy to do that. Additionally, the puree that you prepare yourself is better tasting than the canned one. Forget the convenience of the canned puree and go all natural. In fact, you will not only enjoy the preparation process, but you will ensure you get a better quality puree. You can steam, boil or bake. It all depends on your preference.
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