Monday, November 5, 2012

Pumpkin Puree

I realized that with the pumpkin recipes on the blog, I should probably just write a quick note about making pumpkin puree. It's not rocket science, but I have learned a few things in the past couple years.

  • The Asian pumpkin varieties that have a greenish, bumpy outside and look as though someone sat on them tend to have really nice rich orange flesh. Some of the "tannish" varieties we see have a much lighter color inside. I just always ask the seller what color it is on the inside as some of the green varieties can also be white inside.
  • You can make puree in the pressure cooker by cutting the pumpkin into chunks and adding a little water. The skin comes off easily after cooking, but I find that this method leaves the pumpkin quite watery so you have to almost wring it out before storing.
  • The easiest method I've found for making puree is to cut the pumpkin into long slices and laying them on a lightly greased baking dish. Bake at 200 C for 20-30 minutes and test for doneness by poking with a fork. The fork should very easily slide into the flesh. If it does not, continue baking. The skin will peel off readily if it's cooked well. You can mash with a potato masher, puree in the blender with a little water, or cut into small chunks. I find this roasting process yields pumpkin more close to the canned version and caramelizes the natural sugars in the pumpkin to give it more depth of flavor, too. 

A 15 oz. can of packed pumpkin in the U.S. is approximately 1 3/4 cups of puree so it might be helpful to pack it away in preportioned amounts.

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