Homemade Pumpkin Puree

I’ve been going a little nuts experimenting with pumpkin recipes around here lately.
It started innocently enough, with our all time favorite pumpkin bars, and then it got a little crazy from there. : )  So I hereby declare next week….
I know, i know, you can’t stand the excitement can you? : )  I thought so.
I’ll be sharing all sorts of pumpkin recipes with you all week long next week, so make sure to check back!  But for today, I wanted to share the base with you.  Now, you could just go out and buy cans of pumpkin puree, but I much prefer homemade if I have the option.  I stocked up my freezer with it and I know it will save me quite a bit of money going that route.  I bought my pumpkins for 19 cents a pound, and about 2 lbs will make one container.  I don’t recall the last time I saw a can of pumpkin for 38 cents, do you?
My mom canned alot when I was a kid, pumpkin included.  I’ll never forget one year the pumpkins from our garden covered our entire porch.  I was about 10 and my mom announced in a cheery voice after breakfast “It’s time to can the pumpkin today!”  “Who’s going to help?”
It was like someone had just announced there was a gas leak.  All of a sudden my 4 older siblings were flying out the door, citing something or other they HAD to go do.
I was left staring at my mom.  (Okay, I may have been too busy reading my book at the breakfast table to respond quickly). 
And so it was me. And my mom.  And the pumpkins.  Soooo many pumpkins.
Do you know how sticky pumpkin is?   It wasn’t pretty people, trust me.
But I survived, and here I am making pumpkin puree myself. Voluntarilly even. : )
More recent canning guidelines have shown that pumpin puree cannot be safely canned at home, so I suggest freezing it in 15 oz amounts (about 1 3/4 cups) so you can easily swap them out for the canned option without having to measure out.
Make sure you start with sugar pumpkins, not carving pumpkins.  They are less stringy and sweeter.
Sugar pumpkins
1 T vegetable oil per pumpkin
Quarter pumpkins and scoop out the seeds and pulp. (See below how to treat the seeds).
Rub the insides with a little oil.  Place on baking sheets and bake at 350 degrees until soft, about 1 hour. (This will depend on your size, but you want them thouroughly cooked to get a nice smooth puree.  Let cool slightly. 
 Remove outer peel and puree in a food processor or blender, working in batches. (You could also use a food mill, but I don’t have one of those so I don’t).
You can add water if it’s too dry, but I have never needed to do that.  I would suggest you might need to work in smaller batches if you aren’t getting a smooth puree.
I package mine in 1 3/4 cup amounts in pint freezer containers.  These are equal to a 15 ounce can.
About 2 lbs of pumpkin raw will make one of these finished containers.
Remove the majority of pulp (If you have kids, put them to work)  : )
Throw seeds in a large bowl with water.  Swish gently then let sit for 15 minutes.
The remaining pulp should sink and the seeds float.
Gently scoop the seeds off the top without disturbing the pulp and give a final rinse in a colander.
Lay out on tea towels and pat dry before using.
I roast mine: Toss with a drizzle of olive oil, spread in a single layer on a large baking sheet and sprinkle with kosher or sea salt. Bake at 375 degrees for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden and crispy.
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