Pumpkins stay good for a long time, as long as they're not carved... And so... when the Kindergarten class had the local Pumpkin Patch come to our playground (with a petting zoo!) for "Fall" (I call it HALLOWEEN!), the kids each got a sugar pumpkin. I let the 5yo decorate it, but... no cutting... (lol!)
And after Halloween, I washed, cleaned, cut up and cooked and pureed it for future use.
|Marissa's scooping out the innards...|
|freshly cut, small and sweet|
|fit for a Crock Pot!|
|(yes, I used TWO crocks!)|
I did NOT cook it in the oven. First of all... been there, done that, have the scent (BAD bad smell that permeates the house for weeks) imprinted in my brain and nostrils from well over 20 years ago. (I was 15... you do the math!) Second of all, I don't like to watch it. And you really have to watch it in the oven, or else it will burn (and smell even worse). So, I crock-potted it. Simple, easy. It took about 6 hours, as each crock was p-a-c-k-e-d! (Just cook until fork-tender.) And well, the smell is minimal. I can live with that.
Take the pumpkin out of the crocks (there will be liquid at the bottom... just get rid of it) and allow the cooked pumpkin to cool (you don't want the pumpkin to re-absorb the liquid, it could get mushy that way...). I let it cool to room temp (only because the first batch I chilled in the fridge and it was too difficult to scoop afterwards... kinda like rock hard ice cream...). And scooped it... into the food processor.
I processed it (with a blade) at high speed until it was smooth. Occasionally, I had to take out bits of shell pieces (luckily, these don't appear to puree) and scrape down the sides of the fp bowl. It will be thick and luscious.
I put in in freezer storage containers in 2 cup amounts, ready, willing and waiting for various sweeteners, spices and combiners to be added to make my holiday confections. (Be sure to put the date on it, so it won't be "too" old or outdated.)
We made a homemade pumpkin pie out of one of the containers. (So Stacy dumped a whole bunch of cinnamon in there... life goes on...) We DID NOT make the crust. I bought a beautiful frozen crust (WinCo had Marie Calendar's pie crusts - 2/$1.88), how could it go wrong? Um... super tough, hard and flavorless - don't buy it!
And then... there were lots of extra pumpkins after Thanksgiving from the Kindergarten classes... and who do you think they gave them to? You guessed it! Me! And so... I will be crock-potting them next week, after the kids are on break, so I can use and/or freeze more pumpkin. Gotta love F-R-E-E... free!