pumpkin, PuMpKiN, PUMPKIN! ‘Tis the season for pumpkin! I’ve never been a big fan of pumpkin, but the marketing professionals at Starbucks have promoted the Pumpkin Spice Latte so well that customers start itching for their pumpkin fix come October 1st! Last year, I intended to blog about pumpkins around Thankgsiving (because who doesn’t associate this special holiday with pumpkin pie?!), only to discover that pumpkins cannot be found after October! That’s right, all of those beautiful pumpkins and pumpkin squash go MIA as soon as Halloween is over. So this year, I am on it. I will be blogging about allergy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free, soy-free, nut-free, peanut-free [in Bubba-Gump voice] pumpkin spice, pumpkin lattes, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin snack balls, pumpkin seeds, and pumpkin pancakes. Well, I’m sort of kidding. I really don’t like pumpkin that much, but I just watched Forrest Gump, and that voice is in my head. I will, however, have a couple of dedicated pumpkin posts, so stay tuned for my seasonal best!
A few months ago, I had a butternut squash on my counter that I wanted to use, but the thought of peeling, seeding, and cubing it was killing me. So, I took a chance and threw it in the crock pot on low went into work, then came home to a super soft squash that I was able to peel and de-seed with ease. I assumed it would easily transfer over to a pumpkin, and behold the recipe below. The best part is that a pumpkin produces a ton of flesh, which I pureed, froze in small quantities, and saved in the freezer. Now, every time I come across a pumpkin recipe that calls for puree, I know that my version is going to turn out much tastier. Here is how you can have your own supply of fresh pumpkin puree!
Crock Pot Pumpkin Puree
- 1 pumpkin or winter squash with thick outer skin that will comfortably fit into your crock pot (I actually prefer the flavor of green winter squash in the shape of a pumpkin over the flavor of an actual pumpkin. Kobucha squash is my favorite!)
- 1 cup water
- Crock pot
- Food processor/Cuisinart
- 1/4 cup measuring spoon
Pumpkin Puree Directions
1. Thoroughly wash your pumpkin.
2. Place pumpkin in the crock pot and cover with lid. If the stem sticks out too far, cut it off!
4. Cook it on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 2-4 hours, or until a knife is easily inserted through the center.
5. Carefully remove the HOT pumpkin from the crock pot and place on a sheet of foil. Reserve the remaining water in the bottom of the crock pot.
6. Slice the pumpkin in half, and scoop out the seeds. Reserve the seeds for roasted pumpkin seeds (that I will blog about later this month) and store them in the refrigerator.
8. Add the flesh to a food processor, and begin to process.
9. Slowly add the reserved crock pot water to the food processor, if needed, 1T at a time, until smooth. You want the puree to be the consistency of the canned version; it should be fairly thick, but completely smooth. You may need to process the flesh in batches, depending on the size of your pumpkin.
Batch Freeze Directions
1. Scoop the fresh pumpkin puree into a 1/4 cup measuring spoon.
2. Drop the measured puree into an ungreased muffin tin, or into small piles on an unlined baking sheet. The puree should be thick enough that it does not spread outside of where you place it on a baking sheet.
3. Place the muffin tin or baking sheet in the freezer until each portion is thoroughly frozen.
4. Remove each portion from the tin or baking sheet, and place in a labeled plastic bag.
5. The next time you need pumpkin puree, you have a pre-measure stash in your freezer!
What are your favorite pumpkin recipes? Post them below, and let’s make them allergy-free!