I’m not kidding when I say I love this time of year & pumpkins. Pumpkin pie, pumpkin muffins, bread, empanadas, pumpkin~licious is what I’m talking about! Insatiable comes to mind…lol!!! But seriously, this time of year after Thanksgiving is over and we have all those cute little pumpkins I bought, with not just decorating in mind…but their after purpose. What purpose??? The baking and making pumpkin puree purpose!
Yep! The baking of those now useless pumpkins and making some deliciousness only to use in more deliciousness!
I call it my Fall wind-down. Reluctantly bidding adieu to my favorite time of the year, but on a sweet note. So, each Fall, I gather all my “still good” pumpkins. Slice them, clean them, and place them in the oven (350º).
(I like to use my little metal measuring cup to scrape the sides and get rid of all the yucky stringy guts. Once done, I peel the skin, puree it, allow to cool before I freeze bag or jarfuls of delicious pumpkin that can be used in place of canned pumpkin in most pumpkin recipes.
However, before I do anything else…I fix me a small bowl of pumpkin atole, like my mom used to fix us when she cooked pumpkin. Atole is a creamy, warm, sweet, soup. In this case, my mom would scoop some of the pumpkin into a small batch and mix with sugar and cinnamon and then add a little cream. It’s so D E L I C I O U S!!! So to hold on to tradition, I still do that…well, I actually do love the atole! Then on to storing it.
I did cubes this year (for the g-baby), in addition to bagging,
and filling some jars for the freezer and fridge.
I love the creaminess, the color, and especially the taste of fresh, homemade pumpkin filling! You can’t compare it to the canned stuff. Then once I’m done with cooking and storing all the pumpkin, I set some aside for my favorite part.
Momma used to make the most amazing pumpkin empanadas after she cooked the pumpkin. She would take a pan-full of pumpkin, brown sugar, butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. While that was cooking, she would make the sweet dough and ready it for filling.
The house would smell amazing!!!
I usually have one too many of these, but they’re so darn good!
Here are the steps on making your very own pumpkin puree for whatever your little heart desires. Gather your sweet little pumpkins and you will notice a significant difference between homemade and store bought!
- Wash and dry your pumpkin, then cut in half or several big chunks.
- Place upside down (skin up) on a parchment lined baking pan. (I use one with a lip on it so that juices don’t drip all over my oven.)
- Bake in a 350º oven for 1 hour.
- Remove skin or scoop pumpkin off and into a large bowl. Allow to cool!
- Puree in a food processor for a few minutes (until all the pumpkin is smooth).
Now you have some options…
You can freeze in mason jars or freezer bags. (Frozen pumpkin will keep for 6-8 months.)
- Mason jars: pour puree into clean jars, leaving 1″ of head space for expansion. Cap off and freeze.
- Freezer bags: pour puree into quart size bags, remove any air, seal & label. Lay flat on a cookie sheet until hardened.
If you want to use pumpkin right away or gift…
- Pour puree into mason jars, leaving the 1″ inch head space and place in refrigerator. (This will keep for 4-5 days.) So be quick!
*When substituting homemade vs the canned stuff in recipes, I usually add more of the spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, etc.) to each recipe.
Hope you give this a whirl and put those leftover pumpkins to a deliciously good use~ like your very own homemade pumpkin empanadas!
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