Saturday, November 2, 2013

The Economical Kitchen-Pumpkin Edition

Happy November from Colonel Brandon!
It's two days after Halloween, and I bet your children's magnum opus pumpkin carvings are sitting on your front porch, about five days out from being a disgusting puddle of mush. Yup, me too. Plus one that didn't get carved. So it's time for another installment of "The Economical Kitchen-Pumpkin Edition." Turning that pumpkin into about 15 cups of lovely pumpkin puree is really easy. However, it is a bit time consuming. One of my favorite bloggers, Ben Starr, who was on Masterchef Season 2, and is such a freaking cutie, has instructions here.

I opted to cook my halved pumpkin in the oven at 350 degrees while I puttered around and finally made Earl Grey jelly (tomorrow! I promise I will post about it tomorrow!). As per Ben's instructions, when it was cooked, I scooped all the yuck out of the middle. I didn't want to put the pumpkin in my food processor because it is an unholy pain in my ass to clean. So I did one half of the pumpkin at a time, scooping it into a pot so I could use my immersion blender to puree. (My actual blender died recently in a tragic Srirancha Hummus debacle about a month ago. The hummus was so good, it was almost worth it, and now I can cast sad eyes at every Vitamix I see and hope my hubby gets the message before Christmas.) Anyway, I love my little immersion blender.
It made short work of both pots of pumpkin puree. Here's where I part ways with Ben. I just couldn't deal with the mess of the whole towel process to remove the excess water. So I spread my puree into two cookie sheets with inch-high sides on them,
and popped them back in the 350 degree oven until most of the water evaporated. Now, what to do with all this pumpkin? I saved out about three cups to make a variation of Ben's Curried Pumpkin Soup, but that left about twelve cups still to store. I measured the puree out into 2-cup servings. I know, I suck for using plastic baggies, but I just don't have room in the freezer for bulky storage containers. I'm trying to make up for it elsewhere in my kitchen! To prevent a total mess in getting your puree into baggies, I recommend that you put a baggie into a bowl and use a wide-mouth funnel for pouring (I use my canning funnel).
It works great. I did not picture the first bag I attempted with no tools. Let's just say that Colonel was really happy licking up the pumpkin puree that went all over the floor. But, in the end, I came out with a very respectable bunch of pumpkin to use that will last me through the holiday season!

Don't forget to label your baggies before you pour product in them! Home cooking is all fun and games until you wind up with a bunch of mystery crap in your freezer. What am I going to do with all this pumpkin, you might ask? I thought I would troll around and provide you with links to the recipes I'm dying to try. It may wind up sounding a bit like Forrest Gump, however.

This Pumpkin Ice Cream looks amazing, as do Pumpkin Whoopie Pies.

I found an entire blog dedicated to pumpkin, complete with dog treats! Find The Pumpkinista here.

Now go get those terrible-looking pumpkins off your porches, cut off the carved part, and cook them up! Now you can make pumpkin goodies all season long without using the processed, canned stuff. What are your favorite pumpkin recipes?

UPDATE: This puree makes the best pumpkin pies in the world. Don't be afraid to sub this in for the canned.