Does anyone remember "The Great Pumpkin Shortage of 2009?" Last year around this time, it was nearly impossible to find a can of Libby's pumpkin because the fine farmers who supply Libby's with pumpkins had their crops destroyed.
Fall had officially set in here in Wyoming and I seriously had a hankering to make a pumpkin pie, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin bread, butterscotch pumpkin cake, etc.
But there was no canned pumpkin to be found! Tragedy!
But then, miracles of miracles, I was "visiting" The Wal Marts and noticed a box filled with pie pumpkins. Out of sheer desperation, I grabbed one and headed home determined to make it work.
And it worked beautifully; I was so happy! Turns out, it's really super easy to make your own pumpkin puree. If you've ever roasted a butternut squash, you'll be a pumpkin puree-making expert!
First, find a cute little pie pumpkin. Not a small regular pumpkin, though. Pie pumpkins are a different variety.
I got mine at the farmer's market here. Btw, can I just give a shout out to the awesome people who work at Miller Farms in Plateville, CO? They come up each weekend to our town's farmer's market and sell their produce at fabulous prices. I bought a butternut squash, pie pumpkin and acorn squash from them for just $1 each!
Anyhow, attack the top of your pumpkin by slicing down into it all around the top.
Then just pull the top off.
Using a sturdy knife, slice the pumpkin in half.
Like so. Using your finger, pull out all the delicious seeds. They grow in little "pockets" so it's super easy to just slide them right out.
Anyhow, you can also cut out the bottom portion of the stem. Repeat with the other half.
Rub vegetable oil all over each pumpkin half. Front and back.
Place in a baking dish.
Bake in an oven at 375 for about 45 minutes or until the pumpkin is super tender. When you test it with a fork, the fork shouldn't meet any resistance at all but should feel like it's sliding into softened butter.
Then scoop out the pumpkin flesh.
Or you can peel it off. Whatever makes you happy, my friend.
Then just place your pumpkin flesh in a food processor and about 2 tbsp. of water to start with (just enough to help it along in the food processor). You can add more water if your pumpkin seems dry. Puree until smooth and creamy.
Ta-da! Pumpkin puree is ready!
I know, all the photos made it look like a long process but it's really not. The prep time took me about 10 minutes.
You can also roast up the pumpkin seeds. My husband and I snacked on these while watching a movie...healthy and yummy alternative to popcorn. Here's a loose recipe for that:
Spicy Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Seeds from one pie pumpkin
1 tbsp. butter, melted
Spread pumpkin seeds in a single layer on a baking dish or cookie sheet. Pour melted butter over the top. Sprinkle lightly with nutmeg. Sprinkle (normally) with cinnamon and creole seasoning.
Roast in the oven at 375 until lightly golden brown. Remove and sprinkle with kosher salt. Allow to cool slightly before serving.