HOMEMADE PUMPKIN PUREE
This year, my tiny garden yielded quite an abundant surprise – a random pumpkin plant that sprouted and grew these beautiful sugar pumpkins. I hadn’t planted the plant there but somehow, some way, some of my sugar pumpkin seeds must have gotten loose. How cool though! I’ve harvested 3 good sized pumpkins already and have another 5 or so still on the vine!
What do you do when life hands you pumpkins? You make pumpkin puree! This is a really easy trick to making a nice pumpkin puree without much work. This is great for pies, breads, rolls, etc.
Homemade Pumpkin Puree
1 whole small sugar pumpkin
A little water
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut pumpkin in half lengthwise, scoop out insides (reserving pumpkin seeds for either roasting or growing later – see below). Place pumpkin halves face down in a large pyrex dish. I had to trim these a little to get them to fit in the pan. Pour enough water into the bottom of the pan just to cover it. Cover entire pan in aluminum foil and place in oven. Cook for 1 hour or until a sharp knife easily penetrates the foil and pumpkin. Remove pan from oven and allow to cool completely.
Using your hands, remove skin from outside of pumpkin (it will come off easily). Place pumpkin meat in a strainer fitted over a bowl. Using your hands, squish the puree between your fingers to break meat up and release as much water as possible until a nice mush consistency is reached. If you prefer a finer mash, feel free to put the pumpkin meat in a blender or food processor and process to your likeness. I like mine a little less pureed because I usually make it into pumpkin bread – stay tuned for that recipe!!!
Store pumpkin puree in a Ziploc bag in the freezer. I normally store them in two cup size portions because that’s what most recipes call for but use your own judgment. This will keep in the freezer for up to a year (no joke). To use pumpkin puree, simply defrost to room temperature.
As I mentioned, this magickal pumpkin plant grew of a random seed. The truth be known, pumpkin plants grow great in varied climates and soil conditions and they grow fast and produce a LOT of food. For example, it’s now mid November and I have a brand new pumpkin plant which has sprouted and now started blooming!
Saving your own pumpkin seeds for next year’s patch of your own is super easy and WAY cheaper than buying seed packets at the store. Next time you clean out a pumpkin you like, run your fingers through the stringy stuff inside to “comb” off all the seeds. Place seeds in a strainer and rinse thoroughly. Set strainer over a bowl or on a towel. From time to time (every couple of hours), toss the seeds with your fingers, making sure to break apart any seeds which have stuck together. This will begin to dry the seeds. At first you won’t notice much by way of moisture difference on the skin of the seed but after 5 or 6 times of tossing them, you will notice they are quite dry. Once nice and dry, package the seeds in paper envelopes. Never store seeds in plastic airtight containers as the oils in seeds tend to go rancid.
As I think about my random pumpkin plant, I think about gratitude and how lucky I was to have this plant, which I hadn’t intended to grow at all. Sometimes we have to look at the abundance the universe gives us and be thankful for the blessings that have come our way. Sure, I didn’t mean to grow a plant, I hadn’t wanted nor wished it but there it was and here it still is, producing, abundantly. Gratitude in the abundance one does have is the single biggest activator of more of the same abundance to come one’s way. It is for the things that we are TRULY grateful that multiply the fastest. So next time the universe gifts you an unexpected but welcome surprise, don’t forget to receive it with an open heart and gratitude.