I love making homemade food. It always tastes so much better than anything store bought. Plus it’s usually a heck of a lot cheaper!
Last year I learned how easy making homemade pumpkin puree and homemade applesauce can be. Plus I was able to score some MAJOR deals on both apples and pumpkins at our local farm stand. For $7 I was able to score a crate of “deer apples”, which are essentially what people would call “seconds” (lots of bumps and bruises but still fine for cooking or baking). Perfect for applesauce. And if you wait till closer to Thanksgiving, the prices for pumpkins begin to drop dramatically. Last year they were literally giving them away by the last few days before Thanksgiving!
So now I’m making pumpkin puree for free and applesauce that costs about 25 cents per quart (if even that) ALL of which tastes WAY better than anything you buy in the store. SCORE!
1. Preheat your oven to 350° F. While it’s heating, you can begin cutting your pumpkin in half and scooping out the seeds and “guts”. Do not remove the flesh. Have your children help separate the seeds and save them for roasting.
2. Place about 1 c. water in the bottom of a roasting pan. Then place the pumpkins skin side up in the pan. Bake for about 30 min or until the flesh is tender.
3. Scoop out the flesh and place in a food processor or blender. Blend into a puree. Pour into freezer containers to store. (You can find these at the grocery store or even K Mart. I prefer 1 cup sized containers.)
The rule of thumb is that each pound of pumpkin will give you 1 cup of puree.
1. Wash, peel, and core your apples. Place in a thick bottomed pot with about 1″ of water at the bottom.
2. Cook your apples on medium heat, stirring occasionally. You want to cook your apples until they are soft and “mashable”.
3. Remove apples from heat and begin mashing. There are several methods depending upon the consistency that you like. I usually just use a whisk and end up with chunkier applesauce. For smoother applesauce, you can use a blender or food processor or you can invest about $25 in a Foley food mill.
4. Natural applesauce is deliciously sweet by itself, so you will NOT need to add your own sugar. Just ask my four year old who deemed it “WAY yummier than the other kind we have” (Musselman’s Natural). Feel free, however, to add some spices like cinnamon or maybe even nutmeg.
Click HERE if you want to try canning some of your pumpkin puree or applesauce. I always felt intimidated by the idea of canning, but I tried it last year when I made apple butter and it really wasn’t too hard!
And remember that both pumpkin puree and applesauce can be used as healthier food substitutes in baking. I use a ratio of 1/4 c. pumpkin puree = 1 egg.
Let me know if you try any of these recipes and how they turn out. Happy cooking!