Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Pumpkin Puree {Just in case you can't buy it in a can!}

As we all know, Fall has arrived {if not physically where you live, then probably mentally!}. And what better screams Fall than pumpkin? If you are on the ol' Web at all, you can't miss it. The pumpkin obsession in the Fall is pretty amazing, but it really is such a tasty fruit! But what are you supposed to do if you can't buy a can of Libby's and there aren't any more hidden away in your cupboards? Why make your own, of course!

My husband's absolute favorite dessert in the whole world in pumpkin pie, and I knew I needed something to make Thanksgiving the real deal our second year on the field. {Don't ask about the first year, it's a really sad story.} With no cans of anything resembling pumpkin to be found and no time to beg my Mom to send some, I went to work. I headed to the market and started asking for pumpkin. They weren't familiar with the word, but after trying to describe what I wanted, they did show me several different gourd looking things. I grabbed the one that looked familiar ~ quite like a butternut squash ~ and headed home to figure out what to do next. To make a long story short, that squash was orange inside with seeds similar to a pumpkin, and after a bit of trial and error we had ourselves some pumpkin-looking puree. I whipped it into a pie, crossed my fingers, and prayed. Guess what!?! It was even tastier than any pumpkin pie I remembered from the States! Score!!!

Since then, we've only used our squash here to make our pumpkin stuff in the Fall {even when sweet people have sent us the canned stuff!}; it is that good!

So wherever you are in the world, before panicking, start asking around. Ask national friends, ask the market sellers, look around and describe what you want......I bet you might find something that tastes similar to a pumpkin!

Pumpkin Puree

pumpkin/squash/gourd weighing 5-6 lbs.

Split the pumpkin into quarters with a cleaver or heavy knife.
Cut out the stem, scrape out the stringy pulp and seeds, and hack into 4-inch pieces.
{If in a hurry, you can leave in quarters, it may just take longer to roast.}
Place the pumpkin, rind side down, in an oiled roasting pan, cover tightly with aluminum foil, and bake at 325 degreese until very soft, 1-1 1/2 hours.
Scrape the flesh free of the rind and puree in a food processor, grind in a food mill, or smash with a potato masher and remove any stringy bits that cling to the masher.
If the puree seems loose and wet {depends on the variety you are using}, pour into a colander lined with cheesecloth or muslin, bring ends of cloth up over it, and cover with a plate and a heavy weight.
Place all of this over a bowl and let the pumpkin drain until it reaches the same consistency as the canned kind.
{I usually just leave mine in the fridge over night. Works perfectly with the kind we have here!}
When puree is ready, measure into 1 cups lumps and freeze or store in fridge for up to three days.
A pumpkin this size should yield about 4 cups puree, enough to make two normal pumpkin pies.
Use as you would canned pumpkin.


1 comment:

Sally Stensaas said...

We are grateful to be able to get pumpkin here in Uganda. I split the pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds, turn it flesh side down on a 9x13 pan with water in it. Put it in the oven for almost one hour until it is tender. Putting it on the pan like an upside down bowl with water in the pan keeps it from burning and drying out.