Sunday, November 25, 2012

How to Make Your Own Pumpkin or Squash Puree

Thanks to those of you who have written to me to ask about making your own pumpkin and squash puree. I use these ingredients as staple items in a lot of recipes, so I thought I would share how I turn the raw veggie into the finished product. (No more Libby's cans of pumpkin for us!)

The process is ridiculously simple, actually.

You will need:
Several pumpkins or squash, any variety
1-2 tbs. butter, optional

The process:
1. Cut the pumpkin or squash in half (be sure to put the stem on one end and the end on the other).
2. Scrape out seeds and other "guts." You can reserve these to use in making roasted pumpkin seeds, or you can compost them. Chickens love pumpkin seeds, FYI, so if you have them leftover you might share with your feathered friends. If you wish, you can add a small pat of butter into the cleaned out bowl of each pumpkin.
3. Put the pumpkin or squash into a 350 degree oven on a baking sheet. If necessary you can cut a small section off the bottom so the pumpkin/squash half lays flat. The length of baking time will depend upon how many pumpkin/squash you're trying to bake, and how large they are. For one sheet of six pumpkin halves you can estimate about a half hour. You want to cook them until the flesh is fork-tender.
4. Remove cooked pumpkin or squash from the oven and allow to cool.
5. Once cool, use a fork to scrape out the flesh from the skins. Discard skin.
6. Use an immersion blender to puree the pumpkin or squash flesh until it is soft and creamy.


The finished product:
Puree can be frozen for several months, or used right away. It also keeps in the refrigerator for a couple weeks if you can't get to it immediately.

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