Pumpkin Puree from Scratch
When the craving hits for something made with pumpkin, any old can of pumpkin puree will do the job. However, when the bounty of Autumn’s harvest arrives, and there are pumpkins a-plenty, it would be a tragedy of the highest order to not make your own.
Yield: 4 cups
Cooking Time: 45 minutes
1 large (about 6 pounds) or 2 small (about 3 pounds) “pie” or “sugar” pumpkins
- Baking sheet
- Food processor, blender, or potato masher
- Pre-heat your oven to 400°F.
- Cut off the stem and then split your pumpkin in half from top to bottom.
- Scoop out all of the fibrous strands, loose pulp, and seeds and set aside for now.
- Sprinkle the meat with salt and lay the pumpkin halves open-side down on a baking sheet. You can roast them open-face up but I find that dries out the pumpkin too much and doesn’t roast as evenly.
- Roast in your oven for 35 to 45 minutes, until the flesh is fork-tender.
- While your pumpkin is roasting, clean the pulp and strands off of the seeds by rinsing in some warm water. Save your seeds to roast or bake with later.
- Remove the pumpkin halves to a cooling rack and allow them to cool down for about an hour.
- Scoop the roasted meat from the skin into a food processor or blender. Puree until it is completely smooth, about 3 to 4 minutes.
- Use immediately in any of the recipes here, or you can keep it refrigerated for up to a week, or freeze it for up to 3 months.
After Halloween passes is the best time to buy pumpkins, in bulk, and then make Pumpkin Puree to store for Thanksgiving and beyond. Pumpkin Puree freezes remarkably well but it isn’t recommended that you preserve it. Pumpkin and other squashes are low-acid and even in a pressure canner, it is difficult to get the dense pulp to the proper temperature.
What you can do however is preserve the cubed chunks of pumpkin. One small 3 lb. pumpkin can yield about 2 1/4 lbs. of cubed pumpkin which can be preserved in a quart-sized jar. Follow your pressure canner’s instructions. Then when ready to make into puree, be sure to drain all of the water and roast as directed above.