Friday, November 15, 2013

How-To: Pumpkin and Squash Puree

   A definite plus of getting back into food blogging is that it has inspired me to dust off my Culinary *To-Do* List. A big one on that list has been making my own Squash and Pumpkin puree to freeze and use for cooking and baking during the winter holidays. This past weekend, finding myself with a rare free-morning, I did just that.

   Was this time-consuming? Yes, but it was not difficult at all, a perfect low-stress, lazy Sunday kind of thing. It probably would have gone a lot faster if I wasn't also making a big batch of applesauce, but on this particular occasion, I was not in any hurry. Also, the hands-on part is fairly minimal, the longest bit is when the veggies are roasting in the oven. These process shots (again, had to use my iPhone, as my USB adapter for my camera hasn't turned up yet) are a mix of acorn squash and pumpkin. As you'll see in some of these photos, I used a regular-sized, jack o'lantern type pumpkin. Technically speaking the smaller *sugar pumpkins* are probably better for this, as apparently the larger pumpkins produce a more watery puree, but I haven't attempted to cook or bake with my pumpkin puree yet, so I will report back and let you know how it went. You won't have long to wait, as I plan to use said pumpkin in my next recipe post. In case it is not clear, I roasted the acorn squash first and the pumpkin second, in other words, I made the two purees separately, I did not mix them together.

   Question: is a pumpkin a squash? Are squash and pumpkins both considered gourds? Are pumpkins, squash and gourds all different things? The interwebs are hazy on this point, help a girl out?

   Unsurprisingly, I am not the first food blogger to tackle a how-to of this type. Ree over at Pioneer Woman has a lovely tutorial (with much better pictures!) here if you want to check it out!

 Pumpkin and/or Squash Puree
 adapted from various Internet sources, but most prominently Ree Drummond at Pioneer Woman

-winter vegetables of choice (I used 3 acorn squash and 1 medium sized pumpkin)
(longest. ingredient. list. EVER.)

A WORD ON YIELDS: Every veggie will probably be a little different, so I don't know how accurately I can tell you about yields. For whatever it is worth, a medium sized pumpkin got me about 7.5 cups of pumpkin puree and three acorn squash got me about 3 cups of squash puree.

-Preheat oven to 350F.

-Give outer shell of squash or pumpkins a quick rinse or wipe with a damp cloth in case there is any lingering dirt.

-Cut squash or pumpkins in half or in quarters and scoop out seeds and stringy pulp.

-Arrange pieces cut-side up on an ungreased baking sheet and roast for 40-60 minutes or until flesh is soft and easily pierced with a fork (it took about 45 minutes for my acorn squash and about an hour for my pumpkin, start the *fork test* around 45 minutes and go from there)

-When flesh is soft, remove squash/pumpkin from oven and let cool until it can be handled safely.

-When pumpkin/squash is cool enough to handle safely, scoop flesh into the bowl of a food processor or blender. Sometimes the flesh will peel away from the shell in large chunks, other times you will have to scoop it out of the shell with a spoon

-Pulse pumpkin/squash in food processor or blender until smooth. If puree looks dry, add a little water to the mixture. If using a blender, you may need to add a little water at the outset just to help the blender along)

-Place puree in airtight containers and freeze until needed.

   I'm assuming you gathered this, but this treatment would work with pretty much any winter veggies. I used pumpkin and acorn squash, but you could really do any kind of winter squash, or sweet potatoes, or whatever tickles your fancy. Be advised there is no oil and there are no seasonings in this formula, I wanted to leave it plain so the puree could swing sweet or savory as needed in whatever recipe you will be using.


After some advice from the Internet wizard, I believe I have found a way to incorporate a print function!!! Click here and it should give you the option to view and save or print a PDF of this recipe :) Let me know if it works!!!

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