Friday, October 5, 2012

DIY How to Make Your Own Pumpkin Puree on the Stove - Fall Fun and Howling Halloween Linky Party

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Welcome Visitors from the Fall Fun and Howling Halloween Link Party!

This week we are doing a Fall and Halloween Linky Party. I have to admit to you that I don't really care for Halloween so I will probably focus more on the fall links but I have teamed up with 6 other awesome co-hosts (Claiming Our Space, The Chic Geek, Second Chance to Dream, Makin My Apt a Home, Condo Blues,and The Cookie a Day Challenge) so there will be a variety presented! Make sure to visit each of the hosts to see what they have created for the party.

Can I tell you a secret? I don't really like pumpkin. I have never really cared for pumpkin dishes. I don't like pumpkin pie, or cookies, or bread (although i have a recipe for pumpkin bread that I don't really mind and everyone else raves about). Anyways even though I don't care for pumpkin, I love toasted pumpkin seeds, and Mr. Random loves all things pumpkin. So I buy whole pumpkins and puree them to use in pumpkin recipes and toast the seeds for myself (Mr. Random doesn't like the seeds). It works out really well for us. And I actually kind of the whole process of making pumpkin puree. It is satisfying.

Pumpkin puree can be used for a lot of things. You need it for pie, and bread, and cookies. And you can also use it for baby food. It is great to make your own so you know what is in it (mine is just pumpkin and a little water) and you can spice it however you want for your recipe, not just have it taste like whatever they put in the can. I like to freeze mine in 1 cup increments so I can just pull however many bags (cups) I need out of the freezer and not have to worry about thawing too much or too little. This way my husband can enjoy yummy pumpkin treats all year round. (I told you about this in my pumpkin bread recipe).

Here is the best resource that I have found for making your own pumpkin puree. They have several techniques for cooking pumpkins. I went with oven cooking this time because that is my personal favorite. I have also cooked pumpkins in the microwave and on the stove. Both methods work but take a little bit more watching and you can fit more pumpkins into the roaster pan so if you are doing several pumpkins at once it is actually quicker to cook them in the oven. Or to do all 3 at once :)

Anyways on to the recipe.

How to Make Your Own Pumpkin Puree

Supplies Needed:
Pumpkin (I would go with pie pumpkins, I have tried both pie pumpkins and big pumpkins and pie pumpkins have a better flavor and texture, are less watery, and surprisingly have more seeds)
Food Processor (if you don't have one you can probably use a food masher, blender,or something like that, I have never tried anything else so I can't tell you what else would work best)
Roasting Pan (or cake pan, but a roasting pan is easiest)
Aluminum Foil (or a lid for your pan, I don't have one so I use aluminum foil)

Wash your pumpkin. Whenever you cut into a fruit or vegetable you should wash the outside even if you won't be eating it because whatever is on the skin will be transferred into it when you cut into it with the knife. Sorry about the bad picture. The screen on my camera is broken so I can't see my pictures until I get them on the computer. I usually just take a bunch of pictures and hope one of them comes out, but none of these did.
 Cut the pumpkin in half.
 Scrape out the seeds and goopy stuff.
Place the two halves of the pumpkin cut side down in the roasting pan and fill with about 1 inch of water. As you can see I could have fit another pumpkin or two in the pan, I usually cook more than one at once, but I didn't do the others because they were not quite as ripe as I like (This one turned out just fine even though it was a little unripe, so don't worry they still work then). I just wanted to get one done so I could get pictures for you guys.
Separate the seeds from the goopy stuff and put them in a bowl. Add water to cover.
Cover your pan with aluminum foil. Make sure you get it all covered. You want the steam to cook the pumpkin and keep it moist. Cook at 350 for 30-90 minutes (The time is different for each batch, keep checking the pumpkins every 10 minutes or so until they are done. They are done when a fork inserted through the skin slides in easily, see the picture below)
 Rinse the pumpkin seeds.
Spread the pumpkin seeds out to dry (I think it would be better to skip the paper towel or switch them over to a plate afer they have dried a bit. I left them on the paper towel for a couple days and the paper towel stuck to them and wouldn't come off until I got them wet again). This step is not at all necessary if you are toasting the pumpkin seeds the same day. If that is what you are doing then just rinse them off and cook them however you do it (I boil my seeds before toasting so I would put them in a sauce pan with water and salt, but toasting pumpkin seeds is another post). If you are not toasting your seeds the same day you can store the seeds dried out for a couple days, but don't store them wet because they will probably either rot or sprout (I stored mine because I was also roasting watermelon seeds and cantaloupe seeds and wanted to do them all together so I was waiting until I was done collecting the seeds).

When the pumpkins are done cooking uncover and let them cool down for a little while so they are cool enough to touch them.
The pumpkin will most likely be pretty much falling off the skin at this point, but if it is not uuse a spoon to scoop it out.
Place pumpkin in blender and puree until smooth. This one didn't need any more water, but if yours is dry just add some water until it is a nice, smooth, creamy consistency.
Measure out one cup and put it in a small plastic bag (If you have reusable freezer containers that would work too).
This one pie pumpkin made 4 cups of pumpkin puree and the little bit in the ramekin in the last picture.
Put the little bags into a big freezer bag (make sure you do this, the little bags were not meant for freezing food)
I kept out the little bit extra for Little Man. He loved it :)

So there you have it! What is your favorite thing to make with pumpkin?

Now on to the Linky Party!

Welcome to the 
Fall Fun and Howling Halloween Link Party

Fall is here and Halloween is right around the corner so that means it is time to share all your fun Fall-themed dishes and decor, scary costumes and terror-able treats.

Now that you have seem my project it is time for you to share with us your projects, crafts, recipes, whatever you have come up with that is Fall or Halloween related.  Your project will show up on all the host's blogs so you only need to link up once but, remember, of us have different projects we are sharing. So make sure to stop by The Chic Geek, Second Chance to Dream, Makin My Apt a Home, Condo Blues, The Cookie a Day Challenge, Domestic Randomness and Claiming Our Space to check them all out.

The party will be up until Thursday, October 18 and then on Friday, October 19, each host will pick their favorite links. So mark your calendar to check back to see if one of your link ups was featured.

Just a few guidelines

1. It would be great if you would follow all the hosts
2. Link ups should be Fall or Halloween related. (No shops or other link parties please)
3. Try to visit some of the other link ups and leave a comment. Everyone loves visitors!
3. You don't need to link back but we would appreciate it if you would display the button on your blog or in your post. 

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With that, it is time to party!!

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