You probably saw what I would classify as a near failure in making fresh pumpkin puree back when I published this post a few months back.
You may not know all the details of that night… but suffice it to say: It was NOT good. The fact that my big, green pumpkin would not get soft was actually the least of my problems. I dropped and broke the camera my close friend so willingly lent me in the absence of my own. I cried. And my pumpkin never really got soft… even after I implemented Plans A, B, and C.
My loving (and at times brutally honest) sister read that post and commented, “This is funny.” When I replied, “Why?” she responded, “Because it totally wasn’t worth it.”
She was probably right.
BUT… I’m no quitter! Tonight I attempted home-made pumpkin puree again. And the results were WORLDS better! Whole UNIVERSES better!
For starters, I used sugar pumpkins rather than Cinderella pumpkins this go-round. And I’m firmly convinced that the man at the farm stand who told me that Cinderella pumpkins are great pie pumpkins was playing some sort of cruel trick on me. The ease with which I produced soft, moist, light pumpkin puree using my sugar pumpkins… compared to the Night from Hell with the Cinderella pumpkin… well, I don’t need to go on. Just learn from my mistakes, friends. That’s why I’m here. To make you feel better about your messy kitchens (or even better than you already did about your clean one) and to make all mistakes first so that you don’t have to.
Let’s get started!
These are sugar pumpkins. They’re basically just small, orange pumpkins of your basic variety.
I rescued these from a church fellowship room this weekend (they had served their purpose as table decor and were likely headed for the dumpster soon.) Don’t let that happen people, let us not forget these are actually FOOD!
Now… the hardest part of this process (the only hard part in fact) is getting them to this point right here.
My advice? Take it slow. Use a sharp knife. Have a husband (or any extra set of hands) nearby. Don’t strive for perfection. Just firmly grasp each punkin :), yank off the stems, and cut deeply into each until you have a crack big enough to reach into and split the pumpkin the rest of the way. Also preheat your oven to 400.
Then dig out the seeds and strings…
(…and save em’ for Roasted Pumpkin Seeds…this week I’ll be showing you Seasoned Cajun and Christmas Spiced…)
…and place the pumpkin halves face-down on a rimmed baking sheet. No oil or butter necessary!
Bake at 400 for about an hour and a half! (That was all it took for ALL these!)
In the meantime…
Pour the pumpkin seeds into a big glass bowl, and cover them with hot water.
Swish em’ around a bit with your fingers and most of the boogery pieces will detach and fall to the bottom quite nicely.
Use a slotted spoon (or your fingers) to lift the seeds off the top of the water. Transfer them to a nice, roomy “drying spot” like this one!
By now, the pumpkins were filling my house with the most delightful aromas! It really got me in the holiday spirit. Mentally though, I was stifling my excitement. (Couldn’t let myself get my hopes up after last time.) No WAY these things would be soft yet after just an hour and a half. Right?
But I peeked inside, and the skins had turned to a caramely brown and the pumpkin flesh was practically weeping into the pan! “Can this be?” I thought to myself.
And sure enough!
It was like sinking my fork into soft butter…
They were perfectly fluffy, soft, and tender.
Without having experienced the Cinderella pumpkin fiasco firsthand… I don’t know if you can understand just how happy this made me. I’m SO glad I tried again!
Take a spoon and just scoop all that luscious pumpkin flesh out into a big bowl.
And just mash it all up with a potato masher (or an electric mixer if that’s what you have on hand.) It’s just as easy as fallin’ off a log! (Can anyone name that TV show? Doubt it. Its really random.)
At this point, I went ahead and measured this into cup-size servings for my freezer. I’m gonna be making pumpkin cranberry muffins, pumpkin cinnamon rolls, pumpkin chocolate chip bread, and maybe even some savory dishes too (pumpkin/garlic/onion pasta sauce anyone?)
And they’re a bit easier to store in your freezer if you flatten them like this. Makes them stack-able.
Stay tuned because later on… I’ll show you what were gonna do with THESE!
But tonight I really am just basking in the pride of having successfully (and painlessly) made seven cups of delicious pumpkin puree! You should do the same.
Goodnight and much love,