Wednesday, December 16, 2009

making pumpkin puree

On the Tuesday evening before Thanksgiving, we were given two HUGE pumpkins. They had served their purpose as part of the decor for a Thanksgiving Banquet:

They're not "pie pumpkins" – but some quick research yielded the verdict that carving pumpkins belong to the "winter squash" family and are rich in antioxidants and vitamins. So, I was excited about the opportunity for a frugal challenge. (Having grown up in South America, I'm constantly shocked at how much we can "afford" to throw away here in the USA!)

The first step involved recruiting my Dearest to help cut the biggest pumpkin into three large chunks. This is the largest chunk – representing almost half of the pumpkin:

After scraping out the seeds with an ice-cream scoop, I covered the first chunk of pumpkin with aluminum foil and placed in on a pizza stone in the oven at 350 degrees, checking on it every half hour or so until it was fork-tender.

The largest chunk took about two hours to bake.

After cooling slightly, I scooped the baked pumpkin from the rind with the ice-cream scoop.

The first pumpkin – the largest – yielded this much:

After storing the chunks in the refrigerator overnight, I began making pumpkin puree the next day. Since I don't have a high-quality blender, I found that the pureeing worked best if I added about one cup of water per batch being blenderized.

The result was pumpkin puree with an applesauce-like consistency – which we actually prefer.

Not counting the pan (front center in the picture above) full  of chunks (reserved for stew), the largest pumpkin yielded over 35 cups of puree! There's been lots of pumpkin cooking and baking going on around here, and I'll probably freeze the 20 or so remaining cups for later use.

And there's still the second pumpkin to attend to...

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