Thursday, November 10, 2011

Make Your Own Pumpkin Puree

My kids, Hubbard squash, and Cinderella pumpkin
Thanksgiving is just around the corner, so it is time to make pumpkin puree.  My method is simple: bake, scoop, and puree!  This year, I made 16 pints of pumpkin/winter squash puree, to be stored in the freezer.  Lots of pumpkin pie clafoutis, pumpkin bread, and butternut squash soup will keep us happy over the winter.

Recipe: Homemade Pumpkin Puree
You can use any type of winter squash you like, such as pumpkin, hubbard squash, and butternut squash.  Hubbard squash and Cinderella-type pumpkins are my favorites for making pies.  They have such a beautiful orange color and much more flavor than your typical big round pumpkin.

This year, I figured out that baking pumpkins whole is the easiest way to cook 'em. It does take a while, but it is so much easier than trying to cut up a raw pumpkin as they are VERY hard before they are cooked.  
  1. Place the whole pumpkins on your oven rack (I placed a cookie sheet underneath just in case of any drips).  
  2. Bake for several hours at 200 degrees F.  My 11-pound hubbard squash took about 4 hours to cook, and the others took about 3 hours.
  3. To test for doneness, wrap your hands with a dish towel and gently squeeze the pumpkins.  Check them on multiple sides (and you may even need to rotate the pumpkins partway through if you cook more than one at a time, like I did). If the pumpkins are soft enough to squeeze a bit, then they are done!
  4. Remove from the oven and place on a cookie sheet or large baking tray (such as a 9X13 glass dish).  Carefully use a knife to make a slice down one side of the pumpkin, slicing all the way down to the bottom.  This will allow the water and heat in the pumpkin to be released (and I was amazed at how much liquid came pouring out).  Let cool for awhile.
  5. Once cool enough to touch, finish cutting the pumpkin in half. This is amazingly easy to do since the pumpkin has already been cooked. Scoop out and discard the seeds and stringy bits.  
  6. Being careful to not get any of the skin, scoop the soft flesh out with a spoon and place it into a food processor.  Let the food processor whir the flesh to make a beautiful puree (and of course this may take several batches depending on the size of your pumpkin and food processor).
  7. Store the puree in the fridge if it will be used in the next few days. Otherwise, store it in the freezer. 
This post is part of Sunday School, Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, Real Food Wednesday, Fat Tuesday, Monday Mania, Fight Back Friday and Pennywise Platter!


      Jen said...

      This sounds the same as what I do, although most of the pumpkins I have are in the 20lb range - No way they will fit in the oven without being at least cut in half. I have 170 lbs to process!!!

      For little pumpkins or other squash - I will cut in half and throw in a pot half full with water. That way the impatient baby doesn't have to wait too long.

      Great post!

      Anonymous said...

      Can you do this with any type of pumpkin? I have heard that only small or "baking" pumpkins should be used. I just want to use my large one I have though.

      Sarah Smith said...

      You can use any pumpkin you want, but the flavor will be a bit different with different types. I used my large Halloween decoration pumpkin and found that it does not taste as sweet as the Hubbard squash or cinderella pumpkin, nor does it have such a vibrant orange color. So I still made the puree, but plan to use it for more savory dishes, such as pumpkin soup. I bet you could still use it in pies, but may need to add more sweetener.

      Jill said...

      Thanks for linking your great post to FAT TUESDAY. This was very interesting! Hope to see you next week!

      Be sure to visit on Sunday for Sunday Snippets – your post from Fat Tuesday may be featured there!

      Suzette said...


      Just found your cozy place here and linked my blog to this post. I found your pumpkin baking technique favorable and successful today. Thanks!

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      Andrea @ Frugally Sustainable said...

      Sarah! Thank you for linking this post also! I have about 10 pumpkins sitting in my pantry right now! This post is so timely thank you.

      Rachel @ day2day joys said...

      Great pictures! I also love the idea of making this ahead of time and stocking in the freezer!

      Emily @ Butter Believer said...

      Um, wow. That IS easy! I should have grabbed a few pumpkins when they were dirt cheap the week after Halloween and made pumpkin puree for the whole year!

      I'd love it if you would link this post to our blog carnival, Sunday School! It's up today if you'd like to come check it out!