Homemade Pumpkin Puree

Sunday, November 11, 2012

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Some of you may not realize this, but pumpkin puree does not originate in a can.  I know I didn’t.   In fact, it starts with real honest-to-goodness pumpkins.  Shocking, huh?  When I fist learned that I could make my own pumpkin puree from scratch, it was a revelation.  Homemade pumpkin puree is lighter, airier and has a much more delicate flavor than than the canned stuff.  Not to say that canned puree is bad – because it’s not.  It’s convenient and makes a damn fine pumpkin pie. But, considering how easy homemade puree is to make,  every self-respecting home cook should try it at least once.  And luckily for you, dear readers, I am about to show you how. 

The first thing you need to do is go out and buy some pumpkins.  If you have a friend with their own little pumpkin patch who’s willing to share, so much the better!   Don’t get one of those big, old jack-o-lantern pumpkins, either.  They’re tough and stringy inside.  You want to look for those small, cute sugar pumpkins – also called pie pumpkins.  Their flesh is sweet and lovely.

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In order to turn your pumpkins into puree, you have to cook them first.  Grab a sharp, heavy knife or cleaver and whack the pumpkins in half.  You’ll need to put a little oomph into it.  Scrape out all of the seeds and gunky stuff with a large spoon.  But, DO NOT throw away the seeds!  Rinse and dry them, and save them for making delicious toasted pumpkin seeds to snack on later.

Season the insides of the pumpkins with a little salt if you want.  Sometimes I do.  Sometimes I don’t.   Then, lay them, face down, on a baking sheet and roast them until they’re very soft and tender.  You can also make pumpkin puree by simmering peeled cubes of pumpkin in water or steaming it.  I’ve tried it, but the pumpkin tasted a little waterlogged to me.  In my opinion, roasting is the way to go.

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After the pumpkin has finished roasting, take it out of the oven to cool.   When it’s cool enough to handle, scoop out all of the flesh and puree it in a food processor until it is smooth and luscious-looking.  It will now be ready to use in all of your favorite Thanksgiving recipes.

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The puree will keep in the fridge in an airtight container for up to a week.  You can also freeze it to make pumpkin goodies long after the Spring thaw.    I spoon a cup or two it into quart-sized zip lock freezer bags and store them in the freezer.  When I want to use one, I just take it out and pop it in the fridge to defrost.   So, go ahead and make a lot.

I love to use my homemade pumpkin puree in all kinds of different baked goods, as well as in custards, ice cream and soups.  What’s your favorite way to use pumpkin puree?.

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8 responses to Homemade Pumpkin Puree

  1. On November 12, 2012 at 1:43am, Rosa said...

    I always make my own as it’s healthier and tastier than the canned stuff. A great method.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  2. On November 12, 2012 at 2:23pm, Vicki Bensinger said...

    Youre so funny, about pumpkin doesn’t originate in a can. The funny thing is I’m sure there are those out there who think it does. Nice tutorial about roasting the pumpkin, I’m sure this is helpful to many and always a much better option than the can.

  3. On November 12, 2012 at 2:45pm, Suzette Jones said...

    I love the idea of freezing bathes to use throughout the year. I once mentioned my favorite pumpkin ginger soup (the one with peanut butter to make it creamy) I posted it on my Facebook page because some of my friends wanted the recipe. Here it is: http://www.facebook.com/notes/suzette-jones/pumpkin-ginger-soup/10151220823602383

  4. On November 12, 2012 at 2:45pm, Suzette Jones said...

    I love the idea of freezing batches to use throughout the year. I once mentioned my favorite pumpkin ginger soup (the one with peanut butter to make it creamy) I posted it on my Facebook page because some of my friends wanted the recipe. Here it is: http://www.facebook.com/notes/suzette-jones/pumpkin-ginger-soup/10151220823602383

  5. On November 13, 2012 at 8:04am, Holdthegross said...

    I feel gypped. I remember in first grade we learned about Halloween and thanksgiving and all the fall holidays and food that surrounded pumpkins, and we were taught that pumpkin carving was great and not a waste because you use only carve the leftovers. You cook the seeds and make pie with the other stuff you scoop out. Well, it turns out you can’t because you cant scoop it all out!! Also, it’s a different type of pumpkin. I learned that the hard way, so I’m glad you wrote a post so others don’t have to.

  6. On November 19, 2012 at 12:38am, Sherry said...

    I prefer to use cushaws (a different variety of winter squash) instead of pumpkins. I believe they taste better, and since they are larger, I get more “product” for my effort. I got approximately 6 bags out of each cushaw, but I worked up about 6 cushaws each year, so I had more cushaw than necessary. I buy 1 or 2 of them at farmer’s markets rather than grow them now.

  7. On November 25, 2012 at 11:10am, AguangaKelly said...

    I always steam them, but I will have to try roasting. I put the pumpkin guts in a container and use my stick blender… Much less mess that way!!! And, my pie recipe calls for 3 cups per batch, so I freeze in 3 cup batches. Perfect for making pies. I love that I get to have real pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving AND Christmas. Oh, and my brother, a pumpkin pie connoisseur, thought my pie was better than any other pumpkin pie he ever had! I can’t say enough about REAL pumpkin pies.

  8. On January 26, 2013 at 4:16pm, Lisa said...

    I finally made my own this past fall as well. What a difference! My sons are all pumpkin pie connoisseur, but I have always used Libby’s, so I made one with my pumpkin but didn’t tell them and waitied to see what they thought, I was sure they wouldn’t like it as well. I was wrong, they said it was the best pumpkin pie I had made! That’s great and all but now I am going to have to freeze more pumpking next year to accomadate their pumpkin pie cravings. It’s not hard but does take some time. I tried cooking them 2 ways, roasting, which I prefer, and microwaving them, which is faster. Both methods work fine, but if your short on time go ahead and microwave them with a little water. I found that I get enough pumpkin puree from 1 sugar pumpkin to make 1 pie. Who know, I might even grow my own this year!

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Hello and welcome to SGCC! I’m Susan, a professional writer, food columnist, recipe developer, wife, mother, daughter and sister, who used to be a lawyer in a previous life. My love of food comes from a long line of wonderful and creative Italian home cooks who didn’t always have a lot, but knew how to make a lot out of what they had. I hope that you enjoy yourself while you’re here, and visit often! read more >>

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