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14 November, 2015

Preparing a Pie Pumpkin for Baking

Posted in : Recipe on by : WTG Tags: , , ,

I have nothing against canned pumpkin.  I actually think it’s one of the better canned items out there.  But I am against wasting food and between Halloween and our CSA I had 3 pie, or sugar, pumpkins. They needed to be prepped so I could bake them into all of my seasonal recipes.  Last year I made pumpkin, cranberry breads and a pumpkin, pecan pie.  I can honestly say, that as in most things prepared from scratch, I could taste the difference between fresh prepared pumpkin and canned pumpkin in my pie.  Last years pie was the best so far and I am hoping to recreate it again!  But this is a blog about two dietitians so enough about pie.

To prepare the pumpkin I wash it, cut it in half and scoop out the seeds.  Reserve the seeds if you like roasted pumpkin seeds.  I didn’t think of sharing this recipe when I started this so I have no pictures of the beginning prep but it’s about the same as preparing a winter squash.

Now there are a few ways to proceed.  The easiest is to place the pumpkin in a large covered casserole skin side up with enough water to come up 1/2 inch.  Cover tightly with a lid or foil and bake at 350 degrees until it is soft.  This can take a bit of time sometimes up to two hours.  Keep checking every 15-20 minutes after an hour has passed.  Check by inserting a knife or fork into the pumpkin. If there is no resistance it’s done.  

 I had to leave part way through cooking and I was hoping that by leaving the pumpkin in the warm, but off, oven it would finish cooking.  It didn’t. So I peeled and cubed it which was very easy since it was partially cooked, added a bit more water, covered and cooked until soft. You can cook the pumpkin anyway you like as long as it gets soft.  I wouldnt roast it for this it would be the wrong consistency.

 Now scoop the meat of the pumpkin into a large bowl to purée with an immersion blender or into a food processor.  Process until smooth.  You could probably do this with a kitchen aid mixer, hand mixer or potatoe masher too just try to get it smooth.  The mixture at this point is wet.  I like to place the pumpkin purée in a fine mesh strainer set in a bowl.  

It needs a few hours but I usually just place it in the fridge over night.  Depending on how much pumpkin you are cooking you may end up with a lot of liquid.  I needed to pour off the liquid a few times so that the purée was not sitting in it. I pour the liquid into a jar and I’ll use that in my next soup.

Now you have pumpkin purée!  I scoop it into containers to freeze or use it right away.  With the holidays here I am sure this will not last long.

This batch made 7 1/2 cups of pumpkin purée.  My pie takes 3 cups and the bread takes 2 so I freeze in containers that are preportioned.  

I used the pumpkin broth in a sausage and kale soup and it was a great addition.  

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