Monday, November 26, 2012

Pureed Fairytale Pumpkin

I wanted to roast and puree a pumpkin for Little Hands. At Central Market I asked a produce stocker for tips on how to select a pie pumpkin. The staff at Central Market are fabulous - when you can find one; they really know their products. He gave me great advice on how to select a pumpkin, and then he suggested that what I really ought to try was the fairytale pumpkins. He said that they are sweeter than the little "pie pumpkins" we were looking at.

Did you know fairytale pumpkins are edible? I had thought that they were decorative pumpkins. I had expected them to be unappetizing like the pumpkins more commonly used for jack o' lanterns.

Fairytale pumpkins were $8 compared to the $2.50 for a pie pumpkin. I was relucant to pay that much for a pumpkin; Mama-hona kindly purchased me this beauty. This pumpkin is larger than I wanted because the pricing scheme was flat regardless of pumpkin size. I couldn't reach the smaller ones in the back of the stack, and the larger ones seemed enormous.

I followed the directions on how to roast a fairytale pumpkin this blog. Essentially: whack it up, clean it out, stick it in the oven at 400* for 2 and a half hours, puree it, drain it, et voila!

My notes to add.

  • The majority of my pumpkin was going into baking applications, so I wanted to get rid of as much water as possible. Unlike smaller squash, don't add water to the roasting pan. The liquids will be added back in at baking time; it is better to add liquid than have a soupy batter!
  • Cover the roasting pan in tin foil. Pumpkin is thick, so it needs all the help it can get!
  • Cut the pumpkin into smaller, even pieces. I unnecessarily followed the natural lines of the pumpkin and the larger pieces took 45 minutes longer to cook than the thinner pieces.

I squeezed the puree in a tea towel; the liquid was carrot-orange bright. Then I left puree in the fridge overnight to drain. The puree itself is a likewise happy, bright color.

Once I was happy with the consistancy, I divided it into 1 cup increments for freezing. One can of pumpkin is 2 cups minus 2 Tablespoons. Lucky Little Hands will get to eat the extra tablespoons :)

My ~24-lb pumpkin yielded a half gallon of pumpkin puree. In more useful statistics, a little over 4, 15-oz cans of pumpkin. That means for outright cost I broke about even if canned pumpkin isn't on sale. That's not counting the cost of running the oven for hours nor the value of my time.

For comparison, I also roasted what was labeled as a "pie pumpkin." By the time I got around to roasting it, it weighed a mere 6.5 pounds. I'm convinced it lost a few pounds while it spent two weeks as a "toy" in our living room. (So weight does not necessarily equal volume.) The pie pumpkin yielded 3 cups of puree.

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