I was thrilled to harvest 5 little sugar pumpkins from our garden this year!
The easiest way to make your own pumpkin puree, I think, is to bake the pumpkins. First, wash any dirt off the outside of your pumpkin(s).
After you’ve separated your pumpkin halves, use a spoon to scrape out all the seeds and stringy stuff. If you’d like, you can save the seeds and dry them to plant in your garden next year. 🙂 (see how to prepare the seeds to dry and store them, later in this post). When you’re done, you’ll have two nice clean pumpkin halves.
Line a large pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper. (This is optional, but it saves a lot of time in clean up since the juices will run out and burn during baking. Because of the juices, you’ll want to use a pan that has edges to it, not just a flat cookie sheet.) Lay your pumpkin halves face down on the pan. Put the pan in the oven, and bake for about 1 to 2 hours. The actual time will vary depending on how thick your pumpkins are and how hot your oven actually gets. You can check the pumpkins periodically, to see if they are tender by sticking a fork in them. When they are soft, that’s when they are done.
Once your baked pumpkin halves have cooled enough to hold, use a spoon to start scraping the soft pumpkin flesh off the skin and into a bowl. (Don’t forget to compost the pumpkin skins, and pulp, or feed them to your goats! 🙂 )
Pumpkin Pie Recipe:
2 Cups of pumpkin puree
1 Cup packed light brown sugar
1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 Teaspoon salt
2-1/2 Teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
Bake 10 minutes at 450 degrees F, then reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Bake an additional 40 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Remove the strip of foil about 20 minutes before the pie is done so that the edge of the crust will be a light golden brown.
Instructions for drying and storing the pumpkin seeds:
Take the seeds that you removed from the pumpkin(s) and place them in a colander and rinse them under running water. As the water runs over the pulp, start picking the seeds out from the pulp. Rinse them in the running water as you do.
There will be more seeds inside the pumpkin than you will ever be able to plant, so once you have a good amount of seeds rinsed, look over them and choose the biggest seeds. Plan on saving 3 times more pumpkin seeds than the number of plants you will be growing next year. Larger seeds will have a better chance of germinating.
Place in a cool dry spot for one week.
Once the seeds are dry, store pumpkin seed for planting in an envelope.
Store them so that they will be ready to plant for next year. Any seeds, pumpkin or otherwise, will store best if you keep them somewhere cold and dry.
One of the best places to store pumpkin seed for planting next year is in your refrigerator. Put your pumpkin seed envelope in a plastic container. Place several holes in the lid of the container to ensure that condensation does not build up on the inside. Place the container with the seeds inside at the very back of the fridge.
Next year, when it comes time for planting pumpkin seeds, your pumpkin seeds will be ready to go!