do you look at that pumpkin and ask, “What now?”

Cinderella Pumpkin So you have gone out and purchased a beautiful pumpkin. This thing is gorgeous, though it is a bit bulky and weighs more than you thought it would. It now sits on your counter.

Isn’t it gorgeous?

What now?

How on earth do you go from this pumpkin straight from the garden to pumpkin puree to make pies, bread and other goodies?

If you have never tackled a pumpkin before this may be slightly intimidating task. But take heart! It honestly is easy. Arm yourself with a sharp knife, a few large bowls, a lined cookie sheet and a food processor food mill and you are good to go!

You may notice that I line my counter with newspaper. I do this to protect my counters. I have really old counters, so I am not really concerned. You may want to use a large cutting board. If you don’t have a cutting board large enough don’t worry. Put down cardboard or newspaper on your counter. Put your cutting board on top of it. Just make sure your knife work is all over the cutting board.

Cutting open the pumpkinThis is the time a sharp knife comes into play. That is a big pumpkin and a dull knife will make it a lot more work. Use a sharp knife  insert it up near the stem. Working your way to the outside of the pumpkin. Once I get to the bottom I pull the knife out and go the opposite direction. It will then pull apart and you will be able to cut the bottom.

You then have half a pumpkin to work with, which is much easier. Cutting it in half again will make it even easier.

You can see from this picture that these type of pumpkin have a lot of edible pumpkin there. The seeds are there, but not in a huge number, but they are just as good as those Jack-o-lantern pumpkins.  Use a spoon and scoop out those pumpkin seeds and strings. Set them aside. You can deal with those while you roast your pumpkin.

getting the seeds out

Speaking of roasting your pumpkin, now is the time to get your oven and cookie sheets ready. I roast my pumpkin at 400 degrees. I have read anywhere from 350 to 450. 400 works for me. Just be sure if you go any warmer you have to keep an eye on the oven.

Line a cookie sheet. I use the silicone liners. We are trying to stay away from aluminum and have found that parchment paper just doesn’t work. Your pumpkin will put off a lot of juice which doesn’t bode well for parchment paper. The silicone liners work well.

Cutting the pumpkin into chunks.
Cutting the pumpkin into chunks.

Now back to that pumpkin. Now that you have scooped the seeds out you need to chunk it up. I know sounds like fun huh?

I usually do this a half a pumpkin at a time. For me it seems that I can fit half a pumpkin onto one cookie sheet. As I am cutting I just throw them into a large bowl. I guess I could put them directly on the cookie sheet, I am just not that organized.

 

 

Pumpkin pieces ready for the oven

 

Here they are all ready for the oven. I don’t add anything to the pumpkin. I am going to use them in recipes so I just want the pure pumpkin puree.

 

 

 

 

roasted pumpkin

Here are the roasted pieces of pumpkin. Mine took about 75 minutes. You can tell they are done when they are more than fork tender. They will literally fall apart when you poke them with a fork. At this point your whole kitchen smells like pumpkin. You can tell its fall.

At this point the pumpkin is going to be too hot to handle. I cover it with a tea towel and let it set for about an hour.

I take some kitchen shears and trim off the darkened tips. When they are cool you can just pull them off as well.

cooked pumpkinNow just take a spoon and scoop the pumpkin away from its skin. Place all the pumpkin into a bowl. I scrap the skins to make sure that I get it all. Don’t waste any of that really good pumpkin!

You will notice at this point that even more liquid will be around the pumpkin in the bowl. You can skin this off if you like. I use a slotted spoon and seperate the pumpkin from the liquid. This liquid will make your recipes “soupy”. You want just the pumpkin puree so any time you can take off the extra liquid it is a good thing!

pumpkin pureeNow we get to play with the food processor or food mill. I have to tell you that fall is the time these two appliances get a work out. If you don’t have a food mill you should! I love mine for food processing. Think of it as a non-electric food processor!

This time I used the food processor. Put the chunks of pumpkin into the food processor. Leave behind as much of the liquid as you can. Process on high untill it is all smooth.

At this point you will notice the difference of color in this pumpkin than in what you are used to finding in the can. To me this beautiful bright orange pumpkin is much more appetizing!

pumpkin puree ready to useYou now have pumpkin puree ready to use. Isn’t it just gorgeous?  I use it for pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin butter, puppy treats, and all sorts of other goodies that my family (humans and animals) love.

I do use my food saver and freeze 1 cup portions as well. I find most of my recipes call for 1 cup portions.

So what do you think? Do you think you would can now make that gorgeous pumpkin into this wonderful pumpkin puree? Have any questions? Please leave them in the comments.

Would you like to see a video of this process? If I get enough votes I will make a video! Leave your vote int he comments!

Until next time, keep your home natural!

 

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