I start itching for fall in about mid-August. I know, I can't believe it takes me that long either! Fall is my favorite season, which feels like a betrayal to summer, which is also my favorite season. Winter is lovely for about one month. Which kind of stinks because it lasts for, like, five months where I live. But I digress...
I love everything about fall. The chill in the mornings, followed by warm, sunshine in the afternoons. The shorter days. The laid-back atmosphere. The colors. Halloween. The flavors. THE FLAVORS!
A couple of years ago, a friend taught me the very best thing I ever needed to know about pumpkins: You can roast and puree them yourself. Growing up in a canned-goods and frozen dinner household, it hadn't occurred to me that this was a possibility. I mean, hadn't they been opening aluminum cans and plopping some pureed pumpkin goop in a bowl for centuries? I really don't know why I thought that this was how my grandmother did things and my great grandmother and my great great grandmother, just because it's what I saw my mom do.
Pumpkin puree that you've made yourself is so much more rich and fresh tasting -- in addition to being cheaper and healthier.
We headed to a local pumpkin patch with great prices. Between $1-$4 per pumpkin. I hope you have something awesome like that where you live.
Are you noticing the stick holding up the door in the back of my rig? Look, maybe that might be a sign to replace your vehicle. Or at least look into the hydraulic lift. Here in the country, we use things until they fall apart. It's how we do.
You're going to want to select a couple of 1-2 pound pumpkins. We are trying to match the same amount of puree that you'd get in a 15 oz. can, so your puree will be consistent with your recipes. Your pumpkins should be close to this size:
Cut the top and the bottoms off your pumpkins. You know what I discovered works well? Cutting the top off in a hexagon shape. Then cut the bottom off in a similar hexagon. Push the bottom through the top. You'll get rid of a lot of the seeds this way, making your job a lot easier. Who doesn't love easier, amiright?
Cut the pumpkin in half and scrape out the remainder of the seeds. BONUS ALERT: If you save and wash the seeds, the wait overnight for them to dry, you can make delicious roasted pumpkin seeds with coconut oil, sea salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. I love these seeds in salads and soup.
Rub olive oil all over the pumpkin halves. Put them cut side down in a 450 degree oven for an hour or until there is some give when you stick the pumpkin with a fork. When they're done, you should be able to effortlessly scrape the meat from it's shell with a spoon and little effort.
That's it. Puree it in a blender or food processor. I put my puree in quart-size freezer bags and thaw it as needed, but you can use it right away if you just can't wait. Who would blame you?