Homemade pumpkin puree.
September 28, 2010
I read all about the great pumpkin shortage of 2010 without batting an eye. First, I know I'm a little strange, but I only sort of like pumpkin pie, and only if it's homemade. Once a year will do me just fine (kinda like eggnog), and I'll certainly survive if I have to live without it for there are always apple pies, and sweet potato pies, and pecan pies waiting to be nibbled during the holiday season.
Second, I make my pumpkin puree at home. There is no need to fret over the rain situation in Illinois, or to pay $30 dollars for a can of pumpkin puree on eBay. You just grab a pumpkin (or a butternut squash - that's what most 'pumpkin puree' is made of anyway), wrap it in foil, and pop it on a cookie sheet in a 300°F oven until it's squishy and deflated - 3 or 4 hrs, depending on the size of your pumpkin. Or use any other roasting method you'd like.
Scoop out the seeds and discard the skin before pulsing in a food processor until smooth, or run the entire pumpkin - seeds and all - through a food mill. Either way, you'll end up with a smooth puree.
At this point, you may notice that your puree is watery. You can strain that excess water out with a cheesecloth and a fine mesh strainer, but I prefer to leave it at is. The excess liquid doesn't seem to affect the outcome of my recipes, so I prefer my lazy ways.
If you aren't going to use your puree immediately, scoop it into a freezer-safe container. It will keep in the freezer for up to one year. Otherwise, cover and store in the refrigerator for up to five days.