Pumpkin Puree Recipe
There really isn’t anything that says October quite like the use of pumpkin in the kitchen. Commercially, we see pumpkin flavor in everything. Pumpkin has taken center stage at dinner. You can get pumpkin, soups, breads, ravioli, almost anything you want. But, in reality we really like our pumpkin as a dessert. The way pumpkin blends with cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon can be amazing if we keep ourselves involved in the process. Many of the recipes we see call for canned pumpkin, and that’s fine, but pumpkins are a natural, abundant food we can ill afford to not readily use. More than that, pumpkins are a low calorie (until we combine a fair amount of natural honey with it)vegetable with no saturated fats or cholesterol; however, it is rich in dietary fiber, anti-oxidants, minerals, vitamins. According to the USDA National Nutrient data base, 100g of pumpkin provides 246% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin A. The natural eaters can be heard gasping at those of you using canned pumpkin. The preparation of natural pumpkin couldn’t be easier. After selecting a pie pumpkin (not one of the large jack-o-lantern type pumpkins), simply take out your potato peeler and peel the thin, shiny, orange outer layer off the pumpkin. At this point, you can cut the pumpkin in half (the stem should break off, so you don’t have to cut through it) and take out all the seeds and fibrous strands. Save the seeds for later! I don’t even cut the smaller pumpkins again. I just place them in a crockpot and allow them to cook on low overnight. In the morning you can use a hand blender to cream the well-cooked pumpkin to the consistency of your choosing. As you do you might want to add a few taste enhancing ingredients. I’ve found that two (2) small pie pumpkins will yield about 4- 4.5 cups of fresh pumpkin puree. To that, I add the following.
- 1/4 cup apple juice
- 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice (preservative)
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
I typically don’t add any sweetener until I know the purpose of the pumpkin puree. I typically use about ¾ cup of honey or a cup of brown sugar for a sweet desert or pie.
While your pumpkin is cooking overnight, I would suggest taking the seeds you scraped out of the pumpkin, rinsing them (get all the orange fibrous stuff off of them) and placing them in a bowl of salt water (water should easily cover the seeds and use a teaspoon of salt for every 2 cups of water) overnight. In the morning you can drain the water off the seeds, place them on a drying sheet in your dehydrated and have a healthy snack by the end of the day that packs more protein per 100g than cheese.