Kick the can to the curb

Originally published Sept. 19, 2016, in the Concord Monitor’s Harvest Guide

I put 2 cups of puree in each sandwich bag, label it, and the put sets of four in a larger freezer bag before popping the puree in the freezer.

When it comes to making pumpkin pie or muffins or anything else that requires pumpkin flesh for the recipe, many turn to the canned versions available. One Pie and Libby’s are commonly found in my mother’s kitchen.

But with more people looking to do away with processed foods and focusing on local produce, you can whip up your own pumpkin puree.

I first experimented with this when trying to re-purpose the scraps cut from a Jack o’ Lantern, but you can do this with a whole pumpkin, too. You’ll want a pumpkin on the smaller side for the best texture and flavor.

Start by cutting off the top of the pumpkin, where the stem is. Then quarter the pumpkin into wedges. Clean out the seeds and pulp. (You can set aside the seeds to roast. Yum!)

Place the wedges on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes, until the flesh is fork tender.

Avoid putting olive oil or butter or syrup on the pumpkin before roasting to get puree in it purest form.

Once the pumpkin is soft, peel off the skin. It will bubble up while roasting, so it should not be too much work.

Put chunks of pumpkin in a food processor or blender and pulse until smooth. Or you can mash with a potato masher.

You’ll end up with far more than a can of pumpkin puree. Once cool, you can measure off quantities, pour into sealable bags and freeze until needed.

I did 2 cups of puree in sandwich bags and that worked for future baking needs.