Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Preserving: Pumpkin

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I purchase 2 organic pie pumpkins at the local Farmer's Market for just under $7 with the hopes of preparing some fresh pumpkin pulp. I love pumpkin flavored everything and heard a wild rumor that it's going to be hard to find this fall. So as not to be left empty handed and to hopefully save some money, I tried my hand at it.

Here's what I did:

Cut the pumpkins in half, removing pulp and seeds.
Cut the pumpkin into wedges.
Place the wedges face down in my roaster oven with about 1 cup of water
Cooked them for 3 hours at 350.
When cooled, removed the skin.
Mashed the pulp with a potato masher (my blender suddenly broke)
Measured out 15 ounce (same as a small can of pumpkin) bags to store in the freezer.

I ended up getting 6 15 oz servings- about equivalent to $1 a can. From what I've researched a can of organic pumpkin sells for between $2-3. Not bad.

Two things that surprised me were how utterly hard it was to cut a pumpkin and how much lighter in color the pulp was than what I envisioned.
Any thoughts?

I have yet to use it, but have plans on making a Pumpkin Meringue Pie someday soon.

8 comments:

Heather L. said...

Good for you! When I've done it, my pulp is always light too -- strange. :)

terrah said...

When I cook other squash (I haven't tried pumpkin, but I assume it would be the same) I stick it in the microwave for 4-5 minutes whole. That softens it up enough to make it much easier to cut through.

Catherine said...

I'm so glad you posted this, because I just purchased kind of a staggering amount of squash and pumpkin on Monday ($3.49 pumpkin I can barely get my arms around, and other squash for 59 cents a pound) and wasn't sure where to start with cooking it.

Would you say a can of pumpkin is about a cup and a half, or more like 2 cups? And where have you found those cans for $1 this year???? I priced them at Meijer and they are $2.59 for a 15 ounce can! Last year they were so much cheaper.

April in CT said...

Try cooking them whole! I recently tried this for the first time and it's so much easier. I snapped the stem off (mainly due to it being too tall to fit in the oven), popped it on a cookie sheet and baked it 350 for 90 minutes or until tender. After letting it cool a bit slice in half (like butter!), scoop out the seeds and peel. I'll never fight with cutting one again. I was a little worried about it exploding so next time I'm going to poke a few holes in it, couldn't hurt. I mashed mine with a potato masher right on the cookie sheet and I prefer that to getting the food processor or blender dirty. Just one more thing to clean so why bother unless you want a smoother texture.

Monica said...

Catherine, sorry if I misled you. I was meaning to say that what I yielded was equivalent to $1 a can. I can't find that price anywhere in the stores.

I would say the 15 oz I measured was a cup and a half.

Saralyn said...

This year I cooked mine in the crockpot on high for 3 hours without water and it worked great!

When I made my pie for Thanksgiving last year I noticed that the fresh/frozen pumpkin was a lot wetter than the canned and I had to adjust the recipe quite a bit. In attempt to avoid that this year, I put the mashed pumpkin in an old clean t-shirt and squeezed out a good deal of the water. But while it brings it closer to the consistency of the canned, you end up with a lot less in each freezer bag.

SnoWhite said...

I have heard that pumpkin is hard to find this year... I guess the growing season was poor last year.

If you can't find pumpkin - don't hesitate to use sweet potato! Works like a charm.

Real pumpkins (as opposed to the puree in the can) are actually made from two different varieties of pumpkin. The one in the can is mostly a winter squash variety, where as the pie pumpkins are a different sub-species. I think the difference in variety is likely seen in the color difference of the flesh.

Thanks for the tips!

Eva said...

I have a killer recipe for pumpkin bread. You can find it on my recipe blog here //evajoinerphotography.typepad.com/memories_shared/

I hope you'll try this recipe everyone just raves about the bread. Enjoy!