Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Pumpkin Puree - Discussion

Every fall I buy at least 8 pie pumpkins and make my own pumpkin puree for pies. Here’s my methods for preparing the puree:

For the past 10 years or so I have cooked my pumpkin in a pressure cooker, then I scoop the flesh from the rind and puree in my cone-shaped ricer. Do NOT peel your pumpkins! I manage to cut up my thumb every time I do. I found it much easier scrub the outside of the pumpkin and break off the stem if possible, then I cut my pumpkins in half and then quarters and then eighths and then to cut those in half! Then I remove the seeds and pulp with a spoon or paring knife and drop them into a pressure cooker with the handled perforated insert that goes in the bottom. I add a 1/2 inch of water and place the lid and steam vent regulator on the top. After it comes up to steam I turn down the heat to medium and let it cook 10 minutes. Then I quick cool it under cold running water to remove the lid and then place the cooked pumpkin in a bowl to cool while I fill the cooker with another pumpkin or two. I usually do this over and over again until I get a huge bowl of cooked pumpkin, enough to make at least 12 cups of pumpkin puree. I puree the pumpkin in my cone-shaped ricer with its wooden pestle or my equally effective plastic hand held ricer with interchangeable disc, (One of my favorite kitchen gadgets). I do have to rinse it between batches to remove the stringy pulp from the holes.

Now I have an alternate method that requires less stress, but it takes longer and probably uses less energy. This is the crock pot method. I prepare the pumpkin the same way but place the cubed pumpkin in my crock pots and let them cook on high 3-4 hours in a cup of water. Then I scoop the pumpkin from the rind and puree or rice it. I did this with butternut squash and it works wonderfully. I am definitely going to prepare pumpkin this way very soon. There seems to be a huge pumpkin harvest this year at the local farmer’s pumpkin patch.

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