We LOVE this time of year….what could be better than a sunny, crisp day to visit a local farm and go pumpkin picking
This year, when you head out to the farm (or wherever you get your pumpkins), make sure to pick up a Cheese Pumpkin.
No…it isn’t made from cheese. It’s the most amazing pumpkin you could ever use for baking and roasting. Sweet, smooth and full of beta carotene. You’ll NEVER use that canned C#%P again.
Now, it will take a little work to make puree, but this one pumpkin made enough puree to last quite a while. The puree is freezable, so if you feel like having some pumpkin bread mid-winter, you can!
Here’s how to do it. First, wash the pumpkin then cut it in half and scoop out all the pulp and seeds.
If you are like me, you will scoop all the guts onto a large paper bag and let your kids have fun separating the seeds from the pulp so you can roast up that yummy treat.
By the way, this occupied them for about an hour!
Back to the pumpkin….there are several ways to cook the pumpkin. You can roast it, boil it, microwave it (which I wouldn’t recommend because this zaps all the healthy goodness out of the squash), or you can steam it – which is what I did.
I used my large pasta pot with steam basket. Cut up your pumpkin into large pieces and place them in the steamer. The skin stays on for now.
(I had to do two batches because of the size of the pumpkin.)
Steam the pumpkin for about 20 minutes per batch until the pumpkin is fork tender.
When ready, place the pieces in a colander to allow the excess moisture to drip off. When cool enough to touch, use a knife to separate the skin from the pumpkin meat.
Place the pumpkin in a blender or food processor and blend until it is smooth.
Place in a large bowl and let cool.
While the puree is cooling, get back to those seeds.
Place the separated seeds into a bowl of cold water and use a slotted spoon to separate any leftover pulp from them.
Lay them out on a paper towel to dry.
Back to the pumpkin puree….
Once cool, spoon the puree into small freezable containers. I used a couple of 2 cup containers and a bunch of 1 cup containers. There was a little left over, but my 6 year old took care of that. She even asked me as she was devouring it with a spoon, if I put sugar in it because it was so sweet!
The puree will keep for up to 5 days in the fridge and for several months in the freezer.
Of course, the best is to make something right away, especially since you’ve been smelling this yummy pumpkin cooking for the last hour!
I threw together this one bowl, whole wheat pumpkin bread which was so wonderful and made without sugar. Only some honey to sweeten. It was perfect.
And finally, back to those seeds…..once they are dry, simply toss them with a tablespoon of oil or melted butter and some salt (or whatever seasonings you prefer), put them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment (for easy cleanup), and bake at 300′ for about an hour.
And what to do with all that pumpkin puree? I have plans for pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin waffles and of course pumpkin pie when Thanksgiving rolls around!
Believe me, the little bit of effort you put in to make this is so worth it. Forget that brown slop in the can, this is the real deal. Fresh, orange, naturally sweet, no preservatives or additives and so delicious. Something you can feel good about feeding your family.