I realize that I’m a month or two late for the PUMPKIN-EVERYTHING craze that annually arrives in September, but I finally gathered the time, the initiative, and the pumpkins to try my hand at making my own pumpkin puree. I’ve always been a big fan of Libby’s, but I’m pretty pleased with both the results and the ease of making this myself. Right after Halloween, it’s easy to find pumpkins for just a couple dollars, so it’s a great time of year to stock up for all your coming holiday desserts, as it freezes wonderfully.
And it’s sooooo easy. I urge you to give it a try for your own pumpkin recipes this year! Here’s how it’s done:
1. Select 1-2 small-ish pumpkins, or as many as you want to make in one batch. You can definitely puree pumpkins of any size, but they flavor and texture will be better from smaller pumpkins. These are often sold as “pie pumpkins” or “sugar pumpkins”.
2. Preheat oven to 400°F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice the stem-end of the pumpkin off, slicing off as little of the orange part as possible. Then, cut each pumpkin in half.
3. Use a metal spoon or a pumpkin scraper to clean out the cavity of each half. And don’t pitch the seeds! They make a delicious snack when they’re roasted.
4. Place the pumpkins cut-side down on the parchment paper. You can also place them cut-side up, but you’ll want to add a tablespoon of water to the cavity of each half.
5. Bake the pumpkins for 45-50 minutes. To ensure they are done, flip one half over and prick the flesh with a fork. It should be soft and easy to prick.
6. Use a metal spoon to scrape the flesh off of the skin of each half. Place the flesh in a food processor or blender. I work with one half of the pumpkin at a time to help the pureeing go quickly.
7. Empty the puree into a separate bowl and continue until all of the pumpkin flesh is pureed.
And that’s all! My sugar pumpkins yielded about 32 ounces of puree per pumpkin, or roughly the equivalent of two cans.
You can use this puree immediately if you have a dish ready to cook. Or, keep it in the fridge for up to five days.
I, however, freeze mine. I like freezing it in eight-ounce baggies. Just use regular zippered sandwich bags and a food scale to add the puree, then press them flat before freezing to maximize your storage space.
Looking for new ways to feature pumpkin at your festivities this year? Try these Mini Pumpkin Cream Pies, Pumpkin Cake with Maple Cream & Sugared Pecans, or Pumpkin Chiffon Pie for dessert. Or! Kick off the party with Sweet & Savory Pumpkin Dips. Then when you’re done eating them, the dip bowls will make you another great batch of pumpkin puree.