This is what I found on page 199 about Cucurbita pepo, the squash species that includes the "Baby Pam" pie pumpkins we harvested in September:
"...pepos require only seven to fourteen days of curing.... The pepos are prime right after the curing period
and deteriorate from there, with the flesh getting stringier, and the sugar and flavor going downhill."
Ack! I should have processed our pumpkins long ago! Well, now I know, and if you grew up in the 80s you'll remember that knowing is half the battle.
Part of me wanted to just forget the whole idea of pumpkin puree and to simply enjoy the pumpkins as fall decorations. Well, that wouldn't make a very exciting blog entry, would it?
|Washing the pumpkins|
I picked through our pumpkins and selected the six pumpkins that felt heavy for their size. They ranged from 1lb 5 oz to over 2 lb in weight. They got a quick wash.
|Oiled up and ready to bake|
I rubbed their skins with a little oil and placed them directly on the rack in my 400 degree oven. I was very glad that I remembered to put a baking sheet underneath the pumpkins because several of them definitely oozed as they baked.
It took about 45 minutes for the smallest pumpkins to cook completely and over an hour for the largest one. I removed them from an oven when I could slide a paring knife into the pumpkin without any resistance.
|Halved and ready to scoop out the seeds|
It was very easy to slice the pumpkins open. I'm so glad that I chose to roast the pumpkin first rather than slice the pumpkin while it was still raw. I like having all my fingers, thank you very much!
After I scooped out the seeds and stringy business, it was a simple task to remove the pulp from the pumpkin skin. Easy peasy!
At this point, I gave the pulp a tentative taste. It certainly didn't smell like the pumpkin you get from a can. It also didn't taste like canned pumpkin. It didn't taste like much of anything, in fact.
I proceeded on and pureed the pulp in batches in my food processor. Then I froze the puree in 1 cup portions in FoodSaver baggies.
So now I have 5 cups of tasteless pumpkin puree hanging out in my freezer. I'd call this experiment a big FAILURE. The process was certainly easy, but end result was poor. But you can bet I'll never forget to process my pumpkins on time!
Please tell me I'm not alone when it comes to kitchen failures! I feel like I've had more than my fair share recently.