How to Bake and Freeze Fresh Pumpkin

I know it’s not pumpkin season, but who can resist baking and freezing a fresh one like this in August? My friend surprised me with one from her garden this week. Off to work we go. My oven is preheating to 375. I slice it half and the boys dig out the seeds. Kitchen tip: It’s more like banging the pumpkin open once you have the knife splitting it apart. I carefully smack the pumpkin on the counter holding the large knife tightly (no little ones around) and the pumpkin continues to split open. It’s tough little thing. I scoop the stringy portion with a melon scoop (the kind with the sharp edge around works great, but a kitchen spoon will work, too)

 

Then place the halves face down and cover with foil.

Don’t forget to double bubble something along with your pumpkin. I roasted Italian vegetables for the freezer. I have this obsession for packing my oven full to utilize every bit of energy (physical and electrical). I really look at my meal plan for the week and think of something else I can bake at the same time. While my oven is hot at 375, I bake a pan of granola after I remove all this bounty. It only takes 10 minutes and then my oven is done for the day.

Bake for 1 1/2 hours or until a knife inserts easily into the flesh. I to allow mine to cool to the touch so I may scoop the soft interior with a large spoon to mash away in a blender or food processor. Today, I use my blender because it’s on the counter.

I add some water a few tablespoons at a time to get the blades going and stop and scrape the pumpkin a few times. (Be very careful to wait until the blades have stopped completely).

I puree it nice and smooth and decide on a freezing method. Normally, I freeze everything in quart size bags flat. I’m making some pumpkin chocolate chip muffins for lunch boxes this week and that’s why I have a ziploc containter going in my refrigerator.

There are a variety of pumpkin ideas I’m thinking about: pumpkin muffins, pumpkin bread, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin scones and my favorite pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting (a recipe you must try in the fall).

Updated Kitchen Tip: I strain the puree through cheesecloth or a basket liner inside my salad spinner like I do when I make homemade chicken broth. This removes a huge amount of water which you don’t want in your recipes because it makes it too moist and dense. I always do this BEFORE I bake with it and I strain it again if it looks watery after thawing a frozen bag.

Do you have any favorite pumpkin recipes?

 

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