Preserving the Season's Bounty: Pumpkins

The following is a guest post written by my husband! :)

My husband wrote this post because he's the one that enjoys working with pumpkins around here (I'll stick to working with the three cute ones pictured at the top of this blog.) ;)

How it Started
As you know, my wife and I started canning this year and with that, I got ambitious and bought 10 sugar pie pumpkins.  I've heard that the sugar pie pumpkins are sweeter/less squash tasting than the larger ones, but I can't tell a difference. Regardless, one nice thing about pie pumpkins is that they last a long time before you need to actually do something with them.

For example, we got ours toward the end of September and I didn't finish processing them until the end of November. Until then, they hung out on a ledge in the kitchen as decorations.

How To Puree Pumpkin
I have made pumpkin puree before, but from just 1 pumpkin.  I've found several ways to prepare the pumpkin, but this way seems easiest for me.

I cut around the stem and the center of the bottom.  Then I cut the pumpkin in half and remove the seeds and stringy insides.  At first I saved the seeds for eating, but later I just sent everything to the garden for composting. 

I then place them face down on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. When I take them out, I give a little push on the rind to make sure it feels soft. If it is, then it's done.

Once they've cooled, I scrape the pumpkin off the rind and put it through a food processor. (When I made pumpkin butter, I didn't use a food processor.) I then froze the pumkin in 2 cup bags since we will probably be using most of ours to make pumpkin bread.

Depending on the size of the pumpkin, each one should yield 3-4+ cups of puree.  We ended up with 40 cups of pumpkin from 10 pie pumpkins.

What to Do with Pumpkin
Pumpkin Seeds:
I made seasoned pumpkin seeds (although not a favorite with us).  I made 2 varieties: salted and a sugar/spice mix.  The first batch I based on the the recipe from Whole Foods.

They are pretty easy to make. Basically, I rinsed the seeds, let them dry over night on cookie sheets, sprayed them with a cooking spray, salted and heated for 20 minutes or so at 250 degrees.

The second batch, I used this recipe from Allrecipes.

I haven't had pumpkin seeds in a while, so while they did taste good, it seems like they require a lot of chewing.  So after the first 2 batches, I didn't make any more.

Pumpkin Butter: For the pumpkin butter I used the recipe over at Iowa Eats Girl

The yield was 2 quarts and 3/4 of a pint. I've read that you should not home can pumpkin butter, so I just put it in the fridge.

You can read more about canning pumpkin butter here.

Overall, I didn't think the pumpkin butter was that great.  I guess maybe I just thought it should be sweeter.  Maybe it was because I used water instead of apple cider and I added extra sugar.

In the end I used most of it to make pumpkin bread.

I've tried to keep up with making pumpkin bread around here, but with our kids, it gets devoured in short order.

Thanks Adam for writing this post! I hope you all find it to be helpful.

Do you puree your own pumpkins? If so, what are some recipes you like to make with pumpkins? Leave a comment and let us know--we'd love to hear!


MiaB said...

He did a great job :) I've not been bold enough to try canning yet. I'm just not a great cook or baker, I end up burning something or hurting myself, I'm so clumsy. :) Maybe one of these days I'll try it.

~MiaB said...

Yes, he did. :) We just started canning this past fall for the first time. It went well although it was a lot of work in the heat and with kids around, but it got done. Sometimes we tag teamed for things and that helped. :)

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