Tuesday, October 23, 2012
We use quite a bit of pumpkin around here. Pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin cookies, you get the idea.
We mostly buy canned pumpkin, but I wanted to try my hand at cooking and pureeing a 'real' pumpkin. Yes, pumpkin in the can is real, but I think you know what I mean.
First. Start out with a real pumpkin. Paper or plastic will not do.
You will need a pot, a steamer basket, a knife, and willingness to get pumpkin-y
First, lobotomize your pumpkin.
Slice it in half. Which is easier said than done.
Cut it into manageable size pieces.
Scoop out all the seeds. Save them or throw them away, it's up to you. I saved mine for planting next year. some people roast them to eat. Personally, I find roasted pumpkin seeds gross. But to each his own.
then cut out all the strings from every piece. Just cut out about 1/4 inch of the pumpkin to make sure you get every string, strings make for really nasty pumpkin puree.
While you're doing that you should put water in the bottom of a pot, put a steamer basket in it, and set the water to boil.
So once you're done destringing, the water will be boiling and you can set your pieces of pumpkin on the steamer basket.
Steam for 10 - 15 minutes. Or until it looks yellow and cooked.
Then once the pumpkin pieces are completely cool, peel (and throw out the peelings, they're gross, too) and cube the pumpkin.
Now what a lot of people do is put their cubed pumpkin in a giant pot and cook it until it's goopy, but I went a faster way.
Make sure your blender can handle this. An every day run of the mill kitchen blender probably can't. A blendtec, Vitamix, Ninja, and that sort of thing probably can.
Once you have it all blended and in your pot . . .
Transfer it to a bigger pot, like I did, because I forgot that when pumpkin simmers, it splats all over the place, so you need a pot with high walls.
Cook on low on smallest burner for like . . . 8 hours. Or until there's little water on top and it looks orangish. Stir every once in awhile so it doesn't burn. That'd be bad.
Then once it's cool scoop into containers and freeze puree. It's ready for another day. Haha. Rhymes.
You can't can pumpkin puree. Well. You can can it, but you could get botulism if you do. So don't. :) Pumpkin puree is too dense and too basic (low acidity) to can safely. Commercial canners can do it because they have these immense pressure cookers that are 10ft tall and have all sorts of lovely gadgets. You probably don't.
So freeze your pumpkin, you won't get botulism, and you'll have pumpkin bread later on. Sound fun? Good.
I got about 9 cups of pumpkin puree from this one pumpkin. Now back to writing!