Driving home from the movies yesterday afternoon, three days after Halloween, we passed the local pumpkin patch that had a sign out: “Pumpkins for Sale.”
I mentioned to hubby that I had seen recipes for making homemade pumpkin purée, but they called for sugar pumpkins. Not sure what those were and not having researched it yet, we didn’t stop.
However, I got to thinking that the owners of the pumpkin patch needed to get rid of those bins full of leftover pumpkins and the sale prices were probably a score, so upon arriving home, I quickly researched sugar pumpkins. Basically, they are smaller than the giant pumpkins people tend to use for jack-o-lanterns–6-8 inches in diameter. These baby pumpkins are more dense, less stringy, and sweeter than their larger siblings; hence, they make a flavorful roasted purée.
I hopped back into the car, drove the two miles to the pumpkin patch, and scored a big ol’ bucketful of baby pumpkins for $1 each. B.A.R.G.A.I.N. ! ! !
Puree is super duper easy peasy to make. Cut pumpkin in half. Scrape out seeds (and save ‘em to roast ‘em later…more on that in the next blog post). Roast in oven. Puree in food processor. Strain out water. Done.
See, told ya it was a cinch.
Yeah, I know it’s far easier to just buy a can of purée at the market, but I prefer to eliminate as many chemicals and preservatives from my life as I can. Plus, with each pumpkin at just $1, it ends up costing me quite a bit less than the cost of a can at the market (see pumpkin math below).
Now, gotta search through the recipe files for all those pumpkin desserts I’ve been bookmarking…
P.S. I took an evening walk around the neighborhood right after I drafted this post, and I counted 34 houses that had multiple uncarved pumpkins adorning their front porches. That’s A LOT of potential pumpkin purée. Let me tell ya, I was sorely tempted to start knocking on doors and offering to take those pumpkins off their hands in case their ultimate fate was going to be the garbage can. But alas, I couldn’t quite muster the courage for that : )
Pumpkin Math (from Pennies on a Platter):
- 1 pound fresh pumpkin = about 1 cup pureed pumpkin
- 1 15-ounce can pumpkin = 1 3/4 cups pureed pumpkin
- 1 29-ounce can pumpkin = 3 1/2 cups pureed pumpkin
(I had 6 pumpkins ranging from 2-3 pounds each and paid only $6 for them. I ended up with about 16 cups of pumpkin purée. That would have been about 10 15-ounce cans at the market for $2.99 each–close to $30! Wow, this was a substantial savings!!)
Homemade Pumpkin Puree
- as many sugar pumpkins as you want to roast (they range from 6-8 inches in diameter and weigh about 2-3 pounds)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Cut off the top of each pumpkin.
- Cut each pumpkin in half (or into quarters).
- Scoop out the seeds (rinse and dry overnight if you want to roast them later).
- Place pumpkin halves on a baking sheet, and pour about a cup of water into the pan.
- Roast pumpkin in oven for 45-60 minutes, until flesh is soft through and through when pierced with a knife.
- Remove from oven, cool slightly, and peel skin. Discard skin.
- Place pumpkin chunks in a food processor and puree for 2-3 minutes, until no lumps remain. If needed, add some water to smooth out the puree.
- Set a tea towel, paper towel, or cheesecloth in a strainer, set it over a bowl, and add puree. Strain for about an hour to release excess water and thicken up the puree.
- Use within 5 days, or freeze for later use (Ziploc baggie, airtight containers, etc.)
Just a Sprinkling of Recipes to Use Pumpkin Puree
- Pumpkin Cheesecake (oh.my.god–delicious!)
- Pumpkin Scones
- Pumpkin Donut Holes
- Pumpkin Ice Cream
- Pumpkin Fudge
- Pumpkin Bars