Thursday, November 18, 2010

Fresh Garden Pumpkin

We had a bumper crop of little sweet pumpkins in the garden this year.
We picked them and put them in storage a few weeks ago so that they would have some time to harden off and ripen before their Thanksgiving premier.

It is so very easy to make homemade pumpkin puree to be used in holiday desserts.

You simply cut up the pumpkin into even-sized sections and remove the seeds from inside. Put the sections into a baking dish and add a half an inch of water to the bottom of the pan.

Next lay a piece of parchment paper over the pumpkin and cover with aluminum foil. Seal the edges of the foil so that the water will steam the pumpkin while it bakes. Bake the pan in a 375 degree oven for 60-90 minutes until the flesh of the pumpkin is completely soft. It can be tested by sticking a fork in it.

After the pumpkin cools in the pan, it can be easily separated from the skin.

I have used it immediately like this with only a slight mashing with a fork but when I bake a large amount I like to put it into my food processor to puree it. In the absence of a food processor a simple old-fashioned potato masher will do the job. Or an electric hand mixer.

Take note that this is not done with the decorative jack-o-lantern like pumpkins. They have a stringy flesh that is not sweet for baking. The small sweet baking pumpkins are the ones to use.

This fresh pumpkin puree is now ready to be made into cookies, pumpkins breads, delicious soups and of pies. It can also be frozen in bags or containers for future use.

A pie made with fresh pumpkin is better then any other. The superb flavor and texture will satisfy and bring back memories of your grandma's pumpkin pie.

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