This year, between various pumpkin patches, magical pumpkin fairies and my own lack of willpower not to buy pumpkins, I have an overload of pumpkins. Almost all are sugar pumpkins, meaning they have a sweet, meaty flesh that will lend itself well to use in pies or other desserts.
Something that is often easily forgotten is pumpkin is so versatile and can be used in so much more than desserts. Some of my favorite ways are to use it are pasta, hummus, smoothies and pumpkin soup. At some point, I would love to recreate a pumpkin lobster bisque that I had a few years back at a resort, but that will require a different time since I am not in the habit of having an entire lobster handy to make fine lobster stock.
Anyway, more on all that later, let’s get somewhere with this pumpkin.
First, we need to cut the pumpkins, scoop out the seeds and save them for a later use. Next, scoop out the stringy flesh (some will remain) and discard. When I have this many pumpkins, I find the biggest pan I have, crowd as many halves as I can in there, lay them cut side and roast for about an hour, until they are fork tender and almost collapsed on themselves. Once they are soft, take them out of the oven and let them cool until they are easy to handle.
Next, scoop out the flesh and use a food processor to pulse in batches. Now, if you do not plan to use this in a pie at this point you would be done. If you do plan to use this for a pie, this puree needs to be drained of excess water. I typically line a colander with a cheese cloth, add the puree to the cheese cloth and let it drain overnight.
I realize this activity is time consuming and I am not suggesting this as a common, everyday activity. It is not hard, but it takes some time and effort. It is a great way to use all the harvest from patches. The reward is amazing as the homemade puree is sweeter than canned pumpkin, though canned pumpkin is an excellent everyday ingredient to have on hand.
- 3 or 4 sugar pumpkins
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Line large baking sheet with foil.
- Cut pumpkins in half, scoop out seeds and flesh. Discard stringy flesh, save the seeds.
- Roast for an hour or until fork tender.
- Let cool until easy to handle.
- Scoop out the flesh and puree in food processor, pulsing along until smooth. This will likely be a 2 minutes per batch.
- Canned pumpkin is drier so it cannot use this for a pumpkin pie as is. To drain the puree, line a colander with cheese cloth. Place colander over a bowl and let the puree drain for several hours or overnight.
- At this point, this is ready to store and separate out in individual dishes or bags.