How To...

Pumpkin Puree

I could not resist the little guy when I saw him in the market the other day.  Probably weighed only 2 kilos, fat, perfectly formed and cute as a button.

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Meet Jack. He was too cute to leave in the store.

So I brought him home and there he sat on my counter for several days.   I named him Jack… O’Lantern.

Trouble was, it was WAAAY too far away from Halloween to consider keeping.  Even in the fridge, a month is a long time for a pumpkin to wait.  Plus, there was really no point in carving it.  Trick-or-Treating is not a tradition here, though it might have been a fun thing for Kevin and I to look at for a couple of days.  Who am I kidding?  In this heat it would have moulded and started to rot before we got the candle inside lit.   And I wont mention the inevitable parade of ants that an open pumpkin sitting anywhere would have attracted.  Those little guys are very alert to any possible food sources!

It is Canadian Thanksgiving this weekend, and Jack would have made a swell table decoration.  Except, with Kevin still more than 2000 miles away, I really wasn’t up to cooking a whole turkey this weekend.  Besides all that, finding turkeys here at this time of year can be difficult.

So, back to Jack, my little wannabe … something! anything!   I finally decided to turn him into puree and from there, figure out how to put him to good use.  It is 31 C with 75% humidity here today.  Not sure why, but I didn’t feel like roasting Jack in a 350F oven for an hour or more.  (You know how squashes can be stubborn sometimes when it comes to roasting) .

After cutting Jack carefully in half and removing the seeds, I added 2 Teaspoons of water to each half, covered each one with a coffee filter (NO  plastic in the microwave for this girl!) and popped both halves in the microwave.

 

While Jack baked  in the microwave, I  cooked the pumpkin seeds , sprinkled with some Himalayan salt, over medium-low heat.  It took about the same length of time to toast the seeds as it did to cook the pumpkin.   Worked great, just be sure to stir frequently to avoid scorching.  

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Stir-fried pumpkin seeds!

After 20 minutes in the microwave, the pumpkin was tender when poked with a fork so I deemed it done.  With oven mitts and much care, I removed the 2 halves from the microwave and placed them on the cutting board to cool.  Once cool enough to handle I scooped the flesh away from the skin (which had darkened considerably) and put it in the food processor.  (The flesh, not the skin.  Throw the skin out or put it in your compost)

A couple of whirls and ta-dah… Pumpkin Puree!  Once the spices have been added it will look more like the stuff from the can.   I am looking forward to trying this in a pie, or some kind of loaf!

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600 ml fresh pumpkin puree, ready for pie

 

 

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