We are crazy for all things pumpkin-y at this time of year! Are you? Have you recently purchased any canned pumpkin? Did you suffer 'sticker shock'?
When I went to my pantry just before our Dreamer's birthday, I was dismayed to find no tins of pumpkin. I remembered then that I had used my last making my Mum's Pumpkin Crunch Muffins. A quick check of the food ads revealed no great specials on pumpkin - so I bit the bullet and bought a tin full price - Libby's large 24 ounce - for $2.89!!!!! For pumpkin?
The next weekend we were at the fruit farm and those sweet little sugar or pie pumpkins were $1 each. Today I finally got around to processing them to freeze. It took me about 1/2 hour to wash, cut, scoop and arrange them skins up on my largest roasting pan. I added two cups of water and covered them tightly with foil. After baking them at 300F for two hours they were soft and ready to scrape from the skins and puree. This took about another 1/2 hour.
Here's my summary for your consideration:
3 pie pumpkins - $3
2 hours of electricity for the oven at 300F
1 hour of my time
Yield: 16 full cups of pure pumpkin puree for our freezer!!!!
Bonus - 2 pints of plump pumpkin seeds for either saving or roasting! We roasted ours with olive oil and sea salt and they are quite yummy - and pretty good for you, as far as snack foods go!
Worth it? I'd say so!
Remember that because pumpkin is such a low acid food, it is not considered a good candidate for home canning, but it does freeze well. Only use the true sugar pie pumpkins - Jack-O-Lantern style pumpkins make for tasteless and watery baked goods, in my experience. If, when you thaw your first container of pumpkin, you find it is watery and not thick enough for your liking, just strain the water that floats to the top when you thaw subsequent containers!
I've been sort of lazy just buying the canned pumpkin lately, but I think I'll go back to making our own puree when I am able. I know I'll likely buy the cans again when I see them on sale - of course, simply because I have to budget my energy carefully.
Fresh pureed pumpkin certainly tastes much nicer than canned and it is bright and wholesome - something I feel good about feeding our family!