How to Make Pureed Pumpkin from Fresh Pumpkins
Many pumpkin recipes call for "canned pumpkin puree" which can be replaced by making your own puree from fresh pumpkins. Grocery stores, produce markets, farmer's markets, and local growers will have hundreds of pumpkins to choose from, so with a good supply, you can make your own puree that is fresh and delicious.
How to Make Pumpkin Puree
Select a firm, bright orange pumpkin. Avoid those with rot spots or deep cuts. A good size is about 10-12 lbs. You need to be able to lift the pumpkin and be able to slice it, so keep the dimensions in mind when making your selection. Thoroughly wash and dry your pumpkin. Using a sharp knife, slice the pumpkin in half, then cut into quarters. If your pumpkin is really big, you can cut it down into eighths too. Scoop off all of the loose membranes and the seeds. You can roast the seeds and save for snack mixes or other recipes.
Line a baking sheet or roasting pan with foil. Place the pumpkin slices with the rind up. Place in the oven (pre-heated to 400 degrees) and roast for about 20 minutes. Check the sices, if they are very soft, they are ready to come out. If they're still a little firm, continue to bake in 5 minute increments, checking after each addition.
Remove the pumpkin slices from the oven and allow to cool to a point where you can safely handle them. Scoop out of the soft flesh using a spoon; place the scoops of pumpin into a large mixing bowl. After you have scooped out all of the pumpkin, you can mash the pumpkin by hand, use an electric stand mixer, or use a food processor to get it to the consistency you want,.
After you have pureed the pumpkinm, you need to push the pumpkin into a sieve or use paper towels or coffee filters over a separate bowl to push as much liquid out as possible. Stirring and pushing the pumpkin into the sieve/filter will create the dense puree while pushing the water out into the bowl below.
Storing Your Puree
Your fresh puree will stay good in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, but it can be frozen for up to 6 months. You can stock up on pumpkins at a good price in the fall and store your puree to enjoy for later use. For space saving, you could pour your puree into freezer bags so they can be stacked and lie flat. Label with the date so you know how long it will be good.
Some recipes will call for pumpkin in ounces (i.e. 15 oz can of pumpkin) or in cups. You can use a digital food scale to accurately weigh out the pumpkin in ounces or use measuring cups for recipes that list the ingredients in cups.
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