Sure you can buy pumpkin puree in a can, but what fun would that be? Why not be a little adventurous and try making it from scratch? I gave it a try this week and the process was really quite simple. You just need to spend a little time cleaning the pumpkin, followed by about an hour of cooking time.
The most confusing thing turned out to be wondering if I had the right kind of pumpkin. I kept coming across recipes that called for a “baking pumpkin” or a “sweet pumpkin”. But in all my trips to the grocery store and the farmer’s market, I did not see any pumpkins that were labeled like that. So I just decided to buy a $3.00 small pumpkin from my favorite farmer’s market and see how things turned out.
The first thing I tried with my homemade pumpkin puree was a pumpkin pie (more on that in the next few days). It passed my family’s taste test with flying colors, so I would say my pumpkin from the farmer’s market worked just fine.
Here are the steps to follow to make your own homemade pumpkin puree (or mashed pumpkin, or canned pumpkin, or whatever else you may want to call it).
HOMEMADE PUMPKIN PUREE
1. Cut off the top of the pumpkin.
2. Next, cut the pumpkin in half.
3. Clean out all the seeds and the stringy insides. I found myself picking out most of the seeds first (I saved them for toasting later). Once most of the seeds were out, I scraped out the rest of the stringy parts. The tip of my big spoon turned out to be a pretty good tool for scraping the insides clean.
4. Line a couple of baking sheets with foil. Put the pumpkin halves face down down on the baking sheets.
5. Bake in a 350 degree oven for an hour, or until the pumpkin is soft enough to easily stick a fork in it.
6. Remove from the oven and let the pumpkin cool down for a few minutes so it’s easier to handle.
7. Scrape the cooked flesh from the pumpkin skin and place in a food processor or blender. Process until the puree is smooth.
8. Put in storage containers and store in the refrigerator until you are ready to use.
My pumpkin that was categorized as “small” at the farmer’s market yielded about 4 cups of puree.
Next up, I’ll be sharing how my homemade pumpkin puree worked in a pie and in cookies, as well as a recipe for toasting the pumpkin seeds.
You may also like to read: Homemade Pumpkin Puree: Thanksgiving Update