what to do with your leftover autumn pumpkins

We started decorating for Christmas and with the arrival of our tree, our lights, our poinsettias, and our stockings came the need to do something with our Autumn pumpkins. We had four pumpkins outside decorating the entryway. I didn’t want to just throw them away, but I wasn’t sure what to do with them. I searched the interwebs for some ideas and found that most food options call for the pureeing of pumpkin. So I spent hours pureeing pumpkins today. You can use pumpkin puree for muffin batter, waffle batter, lattes, pies and other delicious things.

I got most of my inspiration from this website but used a different site for preparing my pumpkin puree. See my notes, from a real person’s kitchen, on the process below.

Big pumpkin

Before you begin, you’ll need:

A big knife and cutting board
A peeler
An ice cream scooper
A colander
A big bowl
Lots of Ziplock baggies (I used the quart size)
A big pot and a smaller pot
A deep scooping spoon that water can drain from
A blender

I started with my largest pumpkin. If I didn’t get this bad boy out of the way first, I would never do it.

Big pumpkin halved I used my big knife and cut my big pumpkin in half. I was surprised at how few seeds were inside. You should know that the larger pumpkins are not as sweet as the smaller pie pumpkins, but you can still use them for pies, lattes, muffins, waffles, etc.

Use your hands to get the seeds out. Then use the ice cream scooper to clean out the threads. You’ll use the seeds for roasting and the threads for vegetable stock. Put your seeds in the colander and wash. Put your threads in a Ziplock bag for freezing. Use the smaller pot to prepare your seeds for roasting. I followed this recipe to make sure my seeds were appropriately salty.

IMG_1035

After the pumpkin is clean, chop that sucker up. You’ll need to peel the pumpkin pieces so make sure the pieces are a manageable size for your hand to hold. Pumpkins retain a lot of water so when you get peeling they’re going to get slippery. If you can’t grip that pumpkin, it’s going to fly out of your hand when you’re trying to peel it.

When you’re done peeling the pumpkins, cut the pieces into smaller pieces like 3X3 or 2X3, anything bigger than four might become too big for your pot to hold lots of pumpkin and will be a hassle to blend. Keep ’em small. The link above says to cut then peel. I’m telling you, peel THEN cut. Peeling small pieces is a nightmare.

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Put your pieces of pumpkin in your big bowl and prepare your boiling water.

Don’t fill your pot anymore than 3/4 with water and bring to a boil. Lightly salt the water. When the water is boiling, start dropping your pieces of pumpkin flesh in there. You can use your scooping spoon that allows water to drain.

What you see in the photo is only about 1/3 of the pumpkin pieces that I had to boil. The website gives you a few options to prepare the pumpkin for puree. I think the boiling option was the best. Though, you will likely have to boil several rounds of pumpkin pieces, especially with the larger pumpkins. You boil for 25 minutes or so. That seems to do the trick.

IMG_1038Once your pumpkin has been boiling for 25 minutes, remove it to the blender. Hit puree. Let the puree cool for a bit before pouring it into the Ziplock bags. I got about 8 quart size bags of puree from my pumpkin and one bag of “pumpkin guts.”

For my dogs, I poured two teaspoons of puree in an ice tray and froze it. Pumpkin is great for pups. I read that two teaspoons a day for small dogs is fine. Two tablespoons for larger dogs works. Google it.

I was a little worried that these pumpkins were going to go to waste. I was so happy to find these websites. And while pumpkin-flavored anything is reserved for Autumn and it’s not exactly a “white Christmas” in southern California, I’m going to love leaving pumpkin spice cookies for Santa.

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