Ah, fall. I know people go crazy when the beloved season of summer arrives, but seriously, fall has got to come in a close second. As soon as temperatures drop a bit, conversations and Facebook status updates constantly revolve around how happy people are that fall arrived.
What is your favorite aspect of fall?
In a poll that I conducted on my Facebook and Twitter pages, most people chose fall colors as what they enjoy most about fall, with pumpkin farms trailing behind. Other answers included crisp weather, apple picking and pumpkin lattes.
Well, confession, the apple picking choice was mine. What can I say? I’ve been doing it since my first year on earth; of course it’s embedded into me as a traditional favorite!
More on that next week.
For today, we’re going to discuss pumpkins.
Pumpkins come in a close second for me, because let’s face it, I love food. You wouldn’t be here on my food blog if I didn’t, right? To me, apples and pumpkins represent fall. This is very obvious in my choice of food. As I type, I have a full bushel of apples in my basement (I don’t know how I ended up with that many, honestly) and two pie pumpkins in my living room. My third pie pumpkin got baked last night.
Pumpkin has become a staple of many foods in the past few years, but have you ever cooked or baked with real, fresh pumpkin puree? Canned pumpkin tastes great too, and it’s available all-natural from some stores. But I’m telling you, you haven’t tasted pumpkin until you bake one yourself.
So before I start throwing pumpkin recipes at you (I’m thinking pumpkin bread, butter, pancakes, stew, soup, cookies…), I better explain how it is that you make your own pumpkin puree.
It’s not hard, I swear. Sure, it takes more time than popping the lid off a can, but just trust me on this one. It’s something you’ve got to try at least once.
Homemade Pumpkin Puree
1 pie pumpkin (the smaller the pumpkin, the sweeter it tastes)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Slice the pumpkin in half and pull off the stem, if it has one.
Scoop out all the pumpkin slime and seeds. (Save the seeds to cook later!)
Turn the pumpkin halves upside down on a pan. Poke holes in the pumpkin skins with a fork.
Place the pan in the oven and cook the pumpkin for 50-60 minutes. When done, a fork or knife should easily break through the softened skin.
Remove the pumpkin and scoop the insides into a dish. When done, you should have a very thin layer of pumpkin skin that can be discarded.
Puree the cooked pumpkin in a food processor or blender until smooth.
Place pumpkin in a strainer and let sit, allowing access liquid to leak out. (I drink this pumpkin juice afterward. So good!)
Place pumpkin back in a container and refrigerate until use. Wa-la!