Saturday, October 17, 2009

Homemade Pumpkin Puree

One thing that is hard to find in the UK is canned pumpkin. In the States it is a staple for the Halloween and Thanksgiving holidays for us to make pumpkin bars, pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie, pumpkin strudel and so much more. Halloween is celebrated it is not as popular as in the States, but the holiday's popularity is growing so fresh pumpkins are available at the end of October. My mom was over from the States last year during Halloween, so she taught me how to make homemade pumpkin puree so that I could make my holiday favorites.

First, you wash the outside of the pumpkins to remove any dirt from sitting your pumpkin outside for the past few weeks. Next with a HUGE knife, cut the pumpkin in half, empty out the seeds and gunk. Lay the pumpkins cut side down in a large baking dish with a bit of water. Bake the pumpkin for about an hour at 350F.

Once it's done you'll really start to smell the yummy pumpkin smell and you can poke your fingers (carefully - it's really hot) in the side of the pumpkin and it will feel soft. Once you take it out it may deflate like this's pretty cool to see it shrink!

Once the pumpkin cools down a bit, start scraping out the cooked pumpkin into a blender and let 'er rip!!!

Next measure out amounts that you would typically use in a recipe into freezer bags. A can of pumpkin is now about 15 oz so that is 1 2/3 cups. Most recipes call for 2 cups of pumpkin because cans used to hold 16 oz (2 cups). According to my Betty Crocker Cookbook with fresh pumpkin you don't need the full two cups I guess since it is more "liquidy."

Lastly you seal it with a smile and let cool in the fridge before you put it in the freezer. My large pumpkin yielded about 5 bags (1 2/3 cups) and the small pumpkin gave me 3 bags (1 2/3 cups).

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