Now that Halloween is officially behind us, it’s time to think about how to reuse the pumpkins for other holidays. There are a lot of different recipes for pumpkin, but if “canned pumpkin” is on your ingredient list, this not the Instructable for you. This will give you great taste with no waste.
The list of holiday favorites that this can be used for include pumpkin pie,soup,bread,and muffins.
Any good pumpkin recipe starts with a delicious pumpkin, and that doesn't fit into a can. For this Instructable, I'm using a french Fairytail/ Cinderella pumpkin. The Cinderella variety of pumpkin, Rouge Vif D’Etampes ,originated in the 1880s in France, and is shaped like Cinderella’s carriage. The flesh is a very deep orange and suitable for cooking and baking in pies.
In France, Cinderella is the choice for making pumpkin soup. Fairytale pumpkins follow in the footsteps of Cinderella but are even more deeply ribbed.
If you don't have this type of pumpkin, pie pumpkins are available just about everywhere and are smaller than the traditional carving pumpkin and are typically labeled “pie pumpkins.”
Field pumpkins-the type used for Jack-O-Lanterns can be used, but with less than desirable results, if not using a cooking pumpkin be prepared for pale stringy flesh,weak flavor and a watery texture.
While using a fresh pumpkin isn't quite as easy as operating a can opener, it’s not difficult either.
This Instructable will teach you how to prepare a basic pumpkin puree for all of your recipe needs.
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Step 1: Materials Needed
A large lidded stockpot to be used as a steamer.
A colander, steamer insert, or basket to keep the pumpkin above the water level.
A large sharp sturdy knife to cut the pumpkin.
One or two bowls to hold the steamed pumpkin to drain and puree in.
A immersion blender, mixer, blender, food processor,or even a mash potato masher to puree the steamed pumpkin.
Several Freezer bags if storing.
Step 2: Getting Started
When you get your pumpkin home,wash the exterior to remove any excess dirt, pesticides,or anything else the pumpkin might have picked up on in its journey to your kitchen.
Using a sharp,sturdy long knife carefully cut the pumpkin in half. The rind of the pumpkin can be very tough so take your time, don't rush anything and have your knife slip.
Remove/scrape the seeds and "strings" from the cut halves.This is easiest done with a large spoon. The seeds can be saved for roasting, next years planting, added to a compost heap,or as I do, just kept with the strings and fed to the chickens.
Continue cutting the pumpkin into manageable sized portions, I like 3"-4" chunks for steaming as they are easy to handle.
Add the cut chunks to your steamer basket one layer deep,don't crowd the pieces. Let steam 25-30 minutes until the pumpkin's rind can be easily pierced by a fork.
After each batch is removed, check the water level in the steamer pot and add to as needed.
Remove to a strainer and let cool/drain until they are comfortable to be handled,about 10-15 minutes.
Step 3: Preparing, Using, and Freezing the Puree
After the steamed pieces are cool enough to comfortable to handle, take a tablespoon and scrape the flesh from the rind (save the cooked rind pieces to add to the seeds/strings bowl- don't waste anything that can be used.).
Place the cleaned pumpkin into a strainer for 10-15 minutes so any excess water can be drained off.
To puree the cleaned/drained pumpkin I use an immersion blender, a hand/stand mixer can also be used to easily get the job done.
The pumpkin puree is now ready to use in any recipe, but remember this product unlike canned pumpkin has no spices added to it. When using your homemade pumpkin be sure to taste before cooking to ensure proper seasoning/taste.
to freeze, put a standard amount into each freezer bag and label/ date before storing. Freezing the bags flat will optimize storage space in your freezer.
To use,defrost and start cooking...but,
If your puree is too watery for recipe use, put the amount needed into a skillet on med-low heat and cook off any excess moisture.