Sunday, November 08, 2009

Roasting Pumpkins

Two weeks ago, before Halloween, I saw various posts on different blogs about roasting pumpkin to make pumpkin purée. Ree on Pioneer Woman said to make sure that I had a "sugar pumpkin" instead of the normal jack-o-lantern type, so I went in search of one. The first place I went to, our local fresh vegetable stand, had lots and lots of orange pumpkins. When I asked about "sugar pumpkins," the gal at the front said they only had "those," pointing to the ones outside. Since I was short on time, I grabbed two that were about the same size and took them home.

They were both small, so I decided to roast them at the same time. As I was cutting them up, I noticed that one had darker flesh than the other - but the difference between the two was more noticeable after they'd been roasted. For these two, I followed Ree's directions of cutting them in quarters (or eighths, depending on the size of the pumpkin), scooping out the guts, and then roasting at 350˚ for about 45 minutes. Next I peeled them. The one with the darkest flesh was very difficult to peel while the other one had stringy flesh and had peel that came off easily. I decided to mix them together while puréeing, and ended up making 6 cups of purée. This I froze in 2-cup bags. I've already used that purée up - in pumpkin pancakes and pumpkin butter.

The pumpkin butter recipe comes courtesy of Kevin, whose blog is called Closet Cooking. It tastes like pumpkin pie! I'm glad I discovered his blog - so many wonderful recipes.

Pumpkin Butter
from Kevin of Closet Cooking

2 cups pumpkin puree
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup apple cider
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon cloves

Simmer everything in a pot until most of the liquid has evaporated and the sauce has thickened.

As it got closer to Halloween, I decided to go ahead and spend a bit more money on my pumpkins. I went to Live Oak Canyon Pumpkin Patch - not even 2 miles from my office - and asked for assistance in finding pumpkins meant for eating. They advertise that they have over 50 varieties of pumpkins - so it was quite fun to explore and try to pick out the "right" ones for me. These are the ones I got:

The large orange one is called a Cinderella. The gray-green one is appropriately called an Ironbark. The white one is a Casper.

Here's the Ironbark before I roasted it. This time, I followed the directions that were in a handout from the pumpkin patch and roasted it whole. I set the oven to 35o˚, put the pumpkin on a cookie sheet, and roasted it for 90 minutes.

This is the Ironbark after it was roasted and quartered. I decided I liked the other method better - where I cut it up before I roasted it. The flesh came out more evenly cooked that way. But this pumpkin had very smooth flesh that puréed easily without having to add any water.

Still down in the basement are the Cinderella and the Casper - they're supposed to last for months, so I'll do the next one in a couple of weeks.


Miranda! said...

As I scrolled down your site i found my mouth watering! I love some of the twists in the recipes that are on here. Thanks so much for sharing!

megan said...

I've never roasted a whole pumpkin before! I'm roasting my first acorn squash this week sometime - that's similar right? :) That pumpkin butter sounds great. I think i'm going to try it with canned pumpkin

NMOS said...

I just had pumpkin pancakes over at the local IHOP. I'm sure it's nothing compared to your homemade ones though. Pumpkin seems to be fairly popular about this time of year.