In Season: Pumpkin Puree

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Lately, in this In Season series, we're taking a look at what I take home from Crooked Sky Farms each week and see what I've done with my CSA share, or part share. This week I'm using pumpkin.

I made sure to pick several pumpkins during our family weekend visit to Crooked Sky Farm's Halloween pumpkin patch - each member of our family of four had at least one in hand on the way back to the car. We didn't get time to carve up any of them this year, but they've been so friendly to look at on my front porch.

With so many, I know I need to work on eating them before knee, shoe or dog bruises on any of them declaring a state of emergency eating. And while I plan to bake a few whole, stuffed with aromatic goodies like rice, or stew or stuffing, I wanted to make my own pumpkin puree for pies or perhaps a pumpkin lasagna with sage.

I'd made a Thanksgiving pumpkin pie several years ago using one of the farm's cushaw squash. Those really are the best for pies since they're very large and have thick flesh. The challenge I had back then was with a resulting watery squash puree.

I hadn't thought much of it this time, but I did make sure to do a double cooking process to cook out any of the extra moisture. Of course, if you're making pie you could also add additional flour or corn starch to help thicken, but I like a thicker puree sans assistance, myself.

I halved, scooped out the seeds (a great second use for a grapefruit spoon) and oiled my pumpkin. Don't forget to rinse and bake the seeds after the pumpkin is done (350 degrees with a sprinkling of salt for 8 minutes).

I put them cut side down and roasted at 350 for about an hour and 15 minutes. Just keep poking it with a knife until it goes through the flesh without any resistance.

I flipped the squash over and let it cool until it was easy to scoop out the cooked inner flesh and pureed it in batches in my food processor. Each batch requires at least a 1-2 minute process to make sure it's quite smooth.

What I did this time was to put it back onto the sheet pan to dry out in the oven. I think this was a mistake. After another hour, it didn't seem to come out much thicker than when it first went in. Darn! I was hoping not to dirty another pan.

What I plan to do next time is put the pureed pumpkin under direct heat in a wide bottomed heavy pan like a dutch oven. That way, it'll make it do it's thing much more quickly.

So, now I'm stocked with Mr. Jack-o-lantern pumpkin puree. I think I'm leaning toward lasagna with this batch. Or baby food if we happen upon a teeny house guest with a hankering for squash.

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