Its that time of the year when pumpkins and squash of all kinds and shapes and colours have been harvested and are available at local farmers markets and are a very economical vegetable to purchase and bake delicious Fall treats. It is traditional in the Fall in our home to pick our own pumpkins – make pumpkin bread and roast the seeds for a crunchy snack and bake some cakes. This really is a versatile vegetable. Here's a puree recipe which is easy to prepare with excellent results.
Pumpkin Puree from scratch
(Not from a Can) ~ Compliments of Chef Dez
- One fresh whole pumpkin
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
- Cut the pumpkin in half and remove the seeds and scrape out the stringy pulp
- Place the cut sides down on a baking sheet and bake until the flesh is very tender, approximately one hour
- Let cool until safe enough to handle. Spoon the cooked flesh off the skin and into the food processor, in batches. Puree each batch until smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary
- Transfer the puree to a large fine wire mesh strainer set over a bowl, cover and let drain in the refrigerator overnight. Discard the liquid, and use the drained puree in any fashion that you would with canned.
Roast Pumpkin Seeds
... while the pumpkin halves are in the oven
- When cleaning the fresh pumpkin separate the seeds from the stringy pulp (which goes into the compost)
- Wash and rinse the seeds with cold water and drain
- Place the seeds (single layer) on a baking sheet covered with a little Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Bake at 350 F degrees for half an hour total time, turning the seeds half way through (after 15 minutes). Watch that the seeds do not burn.
- Remove from the oven and let cool.
- Add a very small amount of sea salt if desired
Hmmmm! A crunchy, nutritious kids snack. There's never enough!
The whole point of this exercise was to trial bake a gluten free treat or two by substituting Organic Whole Grain Oat flour for white flour and honey for the white sugar. The organic flour label states on the packet that it can be substituted in “any traditional baking recipe”. Next week's article will include instructions for Pumpkin Muffins and Kindergarten Pumpkin Bread (both regular and gluten free) recipes.
- To save time homemade Pumpkin Puree can be frozen in 2 cup quantities in the freezer (though preferable to make fresh from stored pumpkins).
- Four cups puree resulted from one pumpkin about 8 inches diameter which was enough to bake 24 muffins and two Pumpkin Tea Breads
- To make roasted pumpkin soup, make up the puree as above, but do not drain and use in your favourite recipe. Super simple and tasty.
Links & References
- Chef Dez Recipe for pumpkin puree
- Pumpkin seeds are super nutritious and healthy
- The Great Pumpkin. Who doesn't love Charlie Brown
- 1.5 billion pounds of pumpkin grown in the USA each year! That's a lot of pie
- Carbaryl and Malathion pesticides used in pumpkin production. So grow organic.
- Pumpkins and squash of all varieties are easy to start from seed at home and grow organically. Mature pumpkins and squash can be stored for months.