Every year I continue to find ways to be more self-sustaining. Last Fall, I got the idea of making my own pumpkin puree from my cousin Mandy. It is such as easy process and I made enough to last me through my newest batch of homemade pumpkin bread. I have used it to make cookies, breads and a pumpkin pie but the bread is still my favorite way to use homemade pumpkin puree. I cannot wait to start making more in a couple of weeks so along with my recipe, I wanted to share how easy it is to make your own pumpkin filling.

 

Pumpkin  Puree

I learned how to make pumpkin puree from one of my favorite go-to bloggers – the Pioneer Woman. For her blog post that has a lot more photos and fun interjections, click here.

 

Start with 2 or 3 pie pumpkins (these are considerably smaller than the pumpkins you carve at Halloween) and can typically be purchased in the produce section of your grocery store. Cut off the tops of each pumpkin and then cut them into halves. Next, clean out the pumpkin gizzards (aka the pulp) and PLEASE don’t throw away those delicious seeds – they were meant for good things!!! After the pumpkin halves are cleaned out, go ahead and quarter them so you have four parts for each pumpkin and place them face up on a baking sheet. Roast them at 350° for about 45 minutes, until they are fork tender.

When the pumpkins are ready, the skin comes off quite easily. Place the pumpkin pieces into a food processor a little at a time and pulse until it is totally smooth. Add a wee bit of water if it is a bit too dense. You can use it right away or do like me and put it into freezer bags for use throughout the year – I will attest that it is worth the little effort for fresh pumpkin puree!

 

Pumpkin  Seeds

I have been roasting pumpkin seeds for several years. I have tried lots of recipes but at the end of the day, the simpler you go, the better they turn out!!!

Once you have removed the pumpkin seeds, clean them well removing all of the pulp. Dry them with paper cloth but DO NOT leave them on the paper cloth as they will stick. Place them on a baking sheet and let them sit out to continue to dry for several hours or overnight.

When you are ready to roast them, place them in a big Ziploc bag and pour in some olive oil (I use a specialty Garlic EVOO from The Olive Branch in Northern Indiana) and a little bit of salt to your liking. Shake the mixture in the Ziploc until the seeds are coated evenly. Bake in a 350°  oven for 45 minutes or until golden brown, stirring occasionally.

 

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

I LOVE TO BAKE!

And, pumpkin chocolate chip bread is one of my favorite things to bake  – it is delicious and it makes my house smell like Fall. Although my recipe calls to bake the bread in loaf pans, I also make them in cupcake tins so I can easily take them into the office for my co-workers to enjoy.

Ingredients

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 heaping teaspoons ground Saigon Cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
2 cups canned pumpkin
1-1/2 cups canola oil
1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

Directions

In a large bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, salt and baking soda. In another bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, pumpkin and oil. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in chocolate chips. Pour into two greased 8-in. x 4-in. loaf pans. Bake at 350° for 60 to 70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.

 

There are so many things to do with pumpkins. From decorating them for Halloween, to using them as centerpieces on your table to using their meat and seeds for delicious treats, you just can’t go wrong with a pumpkin.