In case you haven’t noticed, pumpkin season is in full swing. That means you are constantly surrounded by pumpkin lattes, pumpkin pie, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin smoothies… you get the idea.
Personally, I am very excited about pumpkin season. I love the cool weather of the fall and being able to wrap up in a warm blanket and read a book.
I am also in love with the health benefits of pumpkin. It is low calorie, very high in vitamin A and flavor. It is also super versatile and can be used in many sweet and savory recipes.
Making your own pumpkin puree is easy and is great if you were adventurous enough to have grown your own sugar or pie pumpkins this year. My farmers market is full of pie pumpkins for a great price (30 cents/lb) too.
Right after Halloween, the local farms are often giving away their pumpkins. I will break a bunch of the softer ones open for the chickens (who happen to also love pumpkin season) and bake off the better ones to make puree with. Pumpkin is also fantastic for dogs with an upset stomach. Maybe your dog doesn’t get into as much stuff that makes him sick as my beagle Benjamin does but it is still good to have some on hand.
You DO NOT want to use the large carving pumpkins for this. They are stringy and watery and would take a very very long time to bake off dry enough. And even then you would create a tasteless puree. Ask me how I know this…
Sugar pumpkins or pie pumpkin are small and specifically grown for their great texture and flavor. They are closer in size to a baseball.
Things I add pumpkin puree to:
Pumpkin Pie Smoothie
- small pie pumpkin (you can use as many or few as you want)
- Preheat oven to 350F
- Cut the pumpkin(s) in half and scoop out the seeds
- Place cut side down on a baking sheet and put into the oven on the middle rack
- Bake for 60 minutes or until a knife easily pierces through the pumpkin
- Remove from oven, and scoop out the flesh
- Puree with a food processor, stand mixer, potato masher, food mill or whatever else you have to get a smooth and creamy consistency
- Use right away, freeze, or can for later
The seeds you scooped out at the beginning can be roasted in the oven at the same time as the pumpkin but take them out after 12-15 minutes. For better flavor, soak them in salt water before baking.