Every year after Fall has come to an end and we start dragging out all of our Christmas decorations... Even with all the excitement, I still find myself sad that I have to just throw away my beautiful pumpkins!
They're normally still in great condition, but they just don't quit fit in with our Christmas decor!
So this year, I decided to do a little research of what I could do with them. And I found out that I could make homemade pumpkin puree!!! Just like the canned pumpkin, it can be used for all sorts of desert and bread recipes. And it saves you a ton of money, because for the price of one can of pumpkin, you can buy a whole pumpkin which will produce a few cans!
Of course it does take a little more effort than just going to the store and buying a can. But for me it's well worth the little bit of effort to reap the benefits!
All you have to do is wash, cut, cook, peel & puree you pumpkin... Simple enough right???
Here's a little more detailed instructions:
Start by cutting the top off, just like you would for a jack-o-lantern.
Clean out the inside. Again, just like with a jack-o-lantern. Save some seeds for cooking or to plant & grown your own pumpkins next year!
Since we're not peeling the pumpkin until after it's cooked, you need to wash the outside with soap & water. Then slice it in small enough junks that you can fit it in your crock-pot. You can cook your pumpkin in the oven or even the microwave, but with this method it doesn't absorb extra water. Which gives it a more concentrated taste.
Cook on high for about 3-4 hours depending on how much pumpkin you are cooking. When you can easily stick a fork into the pumpkin, it is done. Just like how you would check potatoes.
Put pumpkin chunks in a large bowl and with a spoon gently scrape the pumpkin away from the skin. I used a fork to hold it in place and a wooden spoon to scrape it off. I think if you use metal utensils, it will tear the skin.
Throw the skin away & let it sit to cool. Then drain any excess water.
Fill your food processor or blender to puree. Or you could use a hand mixer. Once it is all the same consistency, you can package it.
You can put it in containers or bags to freeze or refrigerate. I would make sure they are all the same measurements and not too much in one container so that you won't have to thaw too much to use what you need. I did it in 2 cup increments. Or you could freeze them in an ice cube tray & then once frozen place them all in a bag or container.
My pumpkin yielded 10 cups!!!
My pumpkin yielded 10 cups!!!
Pumpkin puree can be frozen for 8 months - 1 year. And can be used for any recipes that call canned pumpkin.
*I used a regular large carving pumpkin. Most say that they prefer the smaller 'pumpkin pie' pumpkins, because they are sweeter. But you can use the larger pumpkins, you just may need to use more sugar in your recipe. And NEVER use a pumpkin that is already carved! Once cut, they start to decay & mold.