Florida Guide > Miscellaneous
Pumpkin puree and pumpkin spices
Pumkins are a huge part of the American diet and they find many a various uses for the glut that are harvested in the autumn (or fall as they would have it)The glut of pumpkins is perfectly timed to tie in with Halloween and Thanksgiving and for us for bonfire night.
Often your recipe will call for an amount of pumpin puree. You could easily just go to the shop and buy it in a tin and if you are in a hurry, that is a perfectly good option.
However, it is dead simple to make and this is how I do it.
Peel your pumkin and discard peel. Remove all the seeds (more about them later) and also the stringy bits you will find all around the centre.
Chop into cubes and simmer with a scant amount of water til tender (or use your microwave is probably better)
Drain very thoroughly and mash til smooth with the back of a spoon. Now measure it and use in the recipe of your choice.
If you are doing a little pumpkin carving for the 5th of november, it is very satisfying and less wasteful to use the middle of your pumpkin.
Do not waste your seeds; these can be fried gently in a frying pan or roasted in the oven. These make great snacks ot toppings for soups or add an interesting texture and tasts to home baked bread. Really good for you as well!
If you are making a sweet dish with the puree, then you will need some sweet spices since the pumkin lacks a little in flavour.
You could use a combination of all or some of cinammon, ground ginger, grated nutmeg (fresh is infinitely better as it quickly loses flavour; one nutmeg will last you for weeks) ground cloves (go easy on the cloves since they have an aggressive flavour) all spice or cinammon.
Roughly speaking you would use around 2 teaspoons of all the spices combined to 12 ounces of puree, but experiment with it. My family like me to go easy on the spices but yours might like you to be a little more robust with the quantities.
I did find a perfectly good mix while I was on holiday that was simply called pumpkin pie spice but I have not seen it over here in England. This blend suits me vvery well though a do add a shimmer of freshly grated nutmeg for the reasons stated earlier.
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