Storing sugar/pie Pumpkins
Sugar or Pie pumpkins are small sweet varieties of pumpkins meant specifically for eating and well, pies. These pumpkins will keep quite good for a few months in a dry cool place in your basement, however what if you want them ready to use?
Pumpkin purée is simply pre-cooked pumpkin mashed, packaged and frozen for future use in your recipes. By freezing the pumpkin, it can be stored for up to a year and is ready to use (after thawing of course).
Personally I like to bake my pumpkins, however you can also boil or even microwave them until they are done.
Step 1: Preheat your oven to 350
Step 2: Line a large baking sheet with parchment or tin foils to help trap the liquids.
Step 3: Slice enough pumpkins to fill your tray in half and scoop out the guts, don’t forget to put some seeds away to dry for next year, or to roast/eat.
Step 4: Place the pumpkin halves, skin side up on the pan and bake for about an hour or until a fork can easily penetrate them.
Step 5: Remove and let cool a bit (until you can handle them), then scoop out the flesh from the skin into a large bowl.
Step 6: Mash, blend, food process the flesh until it’s a nice puree or desired consistency.
Freezing is simple, simply scoop the pumpkin into bags, seal and freeze. Freezer Ziploc bags are great but I take it one step further with vacuum sealing. The trick is to freeze it in amounts you will use most often. My two primary recipes call for 2 cups, so I freeze it in 2 cup packages. If you have one recipe at 1 cup, one at 2, freeze in 1 cup packages.
Bags I find are best as they can be flattened as the air comes out of them for easy storage in the freezer. With vacuum sealing don’t forget to use the moist setting and watch the juices – if they get to mobile and start entering the machine, simply press the seal button.