The coming of Autumn often hails the coming of pumpkin treats. With Thanksgiving
almost here, that means pumpkin pies. This year, instead of using canned pumpkin, why not make your pumpkin puree from scratch?
Although convenient, store-bought canned pumpkin puree often results in pies that taste similar to commercially produced pie and don’t have much of a pumpkin flavour, sometimes because it is blended with other squashes to create a stronger colour or smoother texture. While pumpkin contains no fat, and is high in Vitamin A, it also contains a fair amount of sugar, so by roasting your own locally grown pumpkins, you get lovely caramelized bits, which add lots of flavour to your puree.
Everyone is familiar with the wonderful berries we get here in the Lower Mainland, but there are also lots of great local pumpkin farmers as well. When selecting pumpkins for puree to use in baking, make sure to get one of the many varieties of sugar pumpkins or pie pumpkins. Pumpkin season actually begins in August, so you can get a jump start making puree before Fall time, and support your local farmer.
To make your own pumpkin puree, start by preheating the oven to 375F. Cut your pumpkins in half and remove the stems, guts and seeds. The seeds can be separated out for baking and snacking on later. Place the pumpkins cut-side down on baking trays (line with foil for easier clean up), and roast for 45-60 minutes, until fork tender.
While the pumpkins are still hot, remove the skins. Any remaining skin can be removed, once the pumpkins have cooled, with a paring knife. Cut up the pumpkin, if needed, and process in the blender until smooth. The puree can be frozen in airtight containers or canned for future use.Home made puree can be used to make pies, tarts, muffins, scones, bars, loaves and more.
Author: Michelle Springman