November 19, 2010
Every year since I was a child, my family has roasted our leftover Halloween pumpkin. Yes, I mean the whole pumpkin. “Why?” you might ask. I answer: pumpkin bread and pumpkin cookies and pumpkin pie; pumpkin cheesecake and pumpkin ice cream and even pumpkin soup!
We roast the pumpkin, scoop out the soft insides, and freeze the puree for the holidays coming up right around the corner.
To roast in the oven, split the pumpkin in half. Place the halves--with or without the seeds and guts scooped out--in the bottom of a large broiling pan with the rind facing out. (If your pumpkin halves are too large to fit in the pan, cut your pumpkin into quarters and layer your pumpkin. Beware that layering will cause the cooking time to increase, however.) Fill the bottom of the pan with one-half to one inch of water. Place the racks in your oven to accommodate this large fruit. Set your oven to 300˚ Fahrenheit. Approximately every 30 minutes, check your pumpkin to ensure that the water has not evaporated from the pan and to see if it is soft to the touch. Expect your cooking time to last two to four hours for large pumpkins.
Once soft, remove the pumpkin from the oven. Drain any water condensation from the inside of the pumpkin. Pull out the seeds and guts if necessary. Then, scoop out the pumpkin “meat” from the rind into a large bowl. (For thicker puree, drain the pumpkin juice from the bowl.) With a hand blender or a potato masher, puree the pumpkin.
Measure out the amounts needed for your favorite recipes, store in containers, and freeze until needed. Pumpkin puree freezes great!
Try the recipes found in these books:
- A Harvest of Pumpkins and Squash: Seasonal Recipes
- Pumpkin: a Super Food For All 12 Months of the Year
- The Best 50 Pumpkin Recipes
- Holiday Pumpkins
- Play With Your Pumpkins
- The Perfect Pumpkin
Blue Springs North Branch