Saturday, 8 November 2014

Pureed Pumpkin

Halloween has come and gone, but the pumpkins remained.  After all the fun of carving them, it seemed a shame to toss them into the garbage.  I decided that this year I was going to use the pumpkins by freezing pumpkin puree for later use.  Edmonton's weather this year was perfect for storing the carved pumpkins in my unheated garage until I had time to deal with them.  It was just like a fridge. 

These lovely pumpkins ended up as 13 2-cup bags of puree and enough to make a batch of Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Now, I do have some small pumpkins that I'm going to can, along with some butternut squash, acorn squash, and sweet potatoes, but Halloween pumpkins aren't really very good to can.  They have a lot more water than the little pumpkins.  However, if you "de-water" the Halloween pumpkins, the puree is very tasty in a variety of sweet and savoury dishes.

(As a side note: If you carve your pumpkin early and it starts to look a little dried-out, soak it in a tub of water overnight and it will plump up again.)

"De-water?"  What is that?  All it means is to squeeze (or let drip) the excess water from the pumpkin after it is cooked. 

Well, with that said, this is what I did.  I carved up the pumpkins into wedges to roast (you could also steam them, too).  I didn't use much of the faces, though (other than to sneak up on my kids with this one in front of my face LOL)

I also used the smaller bits, too.

I roasted the pumpkin at 400ºF for 1 hour, covered.

I removed the rind after roasting, then squeezed the pulp in a cloth to remove the excess water.

I found the best way to puree the pumpkin was with an immersion blender.

That puree ended up mostly in my freezer in 2-cup amounts.

I did set some aside for some cookies, though.  I love these ones.  The pumpkin spice flavour isn't overpowering due to the oatmeal/chocolate flavour.

I also had some puree leftover to have with dinner.  I made a cheesy pumpkin rice by making a basic cheese sauce and adding the pureed pumpkin into it before adding it into some rice cooked in some of my homemade vegetable broth.  Delicious, smooth, creamy, and very filling as a side dish to tonight's grilled pork chops.

I think some nice, comforting pumpkin soup is in the near future, especially since we got a cold, wet snowfall today.