One of the perks of being a stay at home mom is that I can once again experiment with new dishes and take on more homemade recipes. I wouldn’t say cooking and baking is a passion of mine, but I do enjoy getting creative in the kitchen. I’ve aimed to make more things from scratch, because it’s healthier and ultimately saves us money. And of course, seeing my family enjoy something that I have cooked is a huge plus and motivation.
With Thanksgiving approaching (as in tomorrow), I thought I’d share a new recipe I tried out with the pumpkin Little Angel received from his teachers for Halloween. At that point it was too late to carve it into a Jack-O-Lantern or paint it. But I didn’t want it to go to waste either. So I decided to make into pumpkin puree. After looking at several tutorials, I figured out the baking method was what was best for me. I also did this while Little Angel was in school, because it involves a large knife. So yeah, here we go!
Use whatever size pumpkin you like. Angel’s pumpkin was on the smallish medium side. Cut the stem off. I also sliced Angel’s name off because I didn’t know if the marker seeped into the skin.
Using a large metal spoon, scoop out the innards and set aside. Confession: I’ve never carved a pumpkin before, so can I tell you I had no idea that’s what a pumpkin looked like on the inside? It was fascinating. I also didn’t know how much muscle it took to scoop out all of the innards. It’s really thready and sticky, so it takes some work.
You can keep the pumpkin seeds or not. The tutorials I found made it sound like it was sacrilegious to throw them out, but I’m not a seed person (in terms of eating them) so didn’t really care. However, I kept them to roast later because Big Angel likes them.
After the innards are mostly scooped out, cut the pumpkin halves into quarters and set them on a cookie sheet. Drizzle olive oil on the flesh so it can stay soft while baking. I also splashed a little oil on the sheet to keep the quarters from sticking.
In a preheated 350 degree oven, bake the pumpkin quarters for about 45 minutes. And be sure to enjoy the glorious pumpkin-y smell that fills your house during that 45 minutes.
Remove the quarters from the oven. They should be a light golden color, with a little browning on top.
Let them cool to the point of being able to handle them, but not cold. Then slice off the pumpkin skin, so that only the flesh remains.
If necessary, cut the quarters smaller and pile them into your fruit/veggie crusher of choice. Pumpkin flesh is very muscly, so I would recommend a food processor. However, since I don’t own a food processor, I piled them into a blender instead.
If you use a blender, add a splash or two of water to help with the blending. Don’t add too much though, as pumpkin holds a lot of water and the puree may come out more watery than you want it to. Blend in pulses as to not overdo it. It takes a while, but totally worth it. The result is smooth pumpkin-y goodness that looks like orange mashed potatoes.
Store in your container of choice. I chose Mason jars at first, but since I’m not too sure what I’m going to do with it, I transferred it to a freezer bag. Frozen pumpkin puree is good for up to a year, but refrigerated puree is only good for a week. It looks pretty in mason jars though. Then again, what doesn’t?
As for the seeds, it is pretty easy to roast them. Rinse them off in a colander in warm water to get all of the stringy innards off, boil them in salt water and then roast them for about 20 minutes on an olive oil-greased pan in an 350 degree oven, until they are a light golden brown. Salt to taste.
Big Angel appreciated these as a late night snack, and frankly they are so much healthier than store bought, which tend to be over salted, in my opinion.
So yeah, I’m pretty proud as to how the puree turned out, and I hope to make a lovely pie, or cupcakes, or something out of it for Christmas. For Thanksgiving however, I’ll leave the cooking to my stepmother and instead concentrate on something I truly enjoy…eat!