Thursday, October 22, 2009

Making Pumpkin Puree

Making pumpkin puree for pie, desserts, bread and soups is so easy. There is really only a few steps and freezing it is alot easier than canning it. Actually, they now recommend that people do not can the puree for safety reasons. We love pumpkin treats around here so we freeze alot of pumpkins. We also freeze the small ones grown specifically for canning. They are sweeter and have less juice so the puree is thicker.
You will want to start by rinsing your pumpkin and drying it. Cut it in half. Make sure you get all these stringy things out along with all the seeds. (We saved some seeds for the garden next year.)A regular old spoon should work great for this.

It should look like this when ready for cooking.

There are a couple different ways people cook their pumpkin at this point. Some cut into chunks and cook. Others cut and put in pan with small amount of water and cook until soft. Either of these methods seem to be to labor intensive and takes an extra long time to cook. What we have done is to take your clean, cut in 1/2 pumpkin and put them in the canner. It looks like this...

Pressure cook your pumpkins for about 7 minutes at 15 pounds of pressure. This year our pumpkins were small and dense and 7 minutes seemed to be perfect. After cooking, immediately reduce pressure in canner under running water in sink. This is what they will look like when done.

At this point, I let the pumpkin cool for just about 3 minutes. It is very hot after pressure cooking so be careful not to get burned by your pumpkins. Again, your empty shell will look something like this.

Set your pumpkin on a plate and scoop out the pulp into your food processor. Blend until smooth. This is what 10 small pumpkins and one medium pumpkin looks like all done. You really can't tell how big this bowl is by the picture but it is a really big stainless steel bowl.

As your processing all the pumpkins the puree cools down enough to freeze in ziploc bags or freezer containers. When storing in the freezer I only stack 2 high until frozen and then stack them all together when they are all frozen. I freeze 2 cups per bag as alot of recipes call for 1 1/2 to 2 cups.

Don't forget to save out a little for some fresh pumpkin bars!

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