Now that Autumn has arrived you’ll find pumpkin in almost anything. No matter where you turn or what crevice you crawl into, this squash seems to creep its way into every recipe during this time of year. It could be because pumpkin is so delicious a flavor that we have to eat it everyday. It could also be because pumpkins are grown during this season and are all over the super markets. No matter what the reason might be, one fact is clear; October and November infect us with pumpkin fever. We find ourselves thinking outside the box and coming up with some delicious, out of the ordinary, recipes that fulfill our craving for this autumnal fruit. From simple baked goods ranging from breads to pies to cinnamon rolls and even cookies, there does not seem to be an end to our pumpkin madness. It is even finding its way into our dinners with such dishes as pumpkin ravioli and pumpkin soup.
As avid fans go crazy and whip up unique pumpkin concoctions, by the day, they often turn to easy-to-find canned pumpkin. Sure it’s there for your convenience because you think that it’s super complicated to make your own pumpkin purée. Well, I’m here to tell you that you are wrong. This is not true. Pumpkin purée is probably the easiest thing ever. Canned pumpkin is a convenience in that you just open the can and use it. But what goes inside that purée? Think about that for a second. Okay, that’s enough. We’re not there when they are making it. We do not know what sorts of preservatives they add to it. Why not make your own pumpkin purée?Knowing that all you are going to be adding is nothing but 100% pure pumpkin.
I, myself, am not immune to the pumpkin hysteria that is Autumn. I too find any excuse to cook and bake with this orange squash in any way I can. As a matter of fact I am dedicating the entire month of November to the Great Pumpkin. Every recipe featured in November will center around this homemade pumpkin purée. Why? Because it is autumn and in autumn we cook with pumpkins. It’s a new law. Also because Thanksgiving is in November and when I think of Thanksgiving, all I think of is pumpkin for some reason. So to christen Pumpkin month I have decided to create a quick mini how-to post on homemade pumpkin purée. Sure it’s still October and I still have October recipes to post, but I’m preparing you in advance to get you ready. Keep this in the back of your mind. Hold it on the back burner as reference for when we get to November. It will come in handy. Soon. It will be your savior.
We start off with a few small to medium pie pumpkins, or sometimes referred to as sweet baking pumpkins.
You can make a big batch and freeze a portion of it for later use, or you can make a small batch and use it throughout the week on various recipes. The process is so simple that I make small batches at a time, so as not to waste any.
Don’t try to roast a big carving pumpkin. Those wont purée for you. There isn’t that much “meat” inside. These small pie pumpkins are made for roosting and puréeing.
Cut the pumpkins in half, or if you’re making a small batch like me, cut only one of the pumpkins in half and save the other for another time.
Use a spoon, or your hands, to scoop and remove the seeds and membranes of the pumpkin cavities.
Once all the seeds and stringy bits have been removed from the pumpkin halves and they look clean, place them cut-side down onto a baking sheet lined with foil paper.
*Tip: Lining the baking sheet with foil paper will make your clean up really easy! Just lift, crumple, and toss. Super simple.*
Bake the pumpkin halves in a preheated 375° oven.
Roast for about 30 minutes.
*Note: You might have to adjust the roasting time accordingly, depending on the size of your pie pumpkins.*
Mine took about 30 minutes, granted I forgot about them for a couple extra minutes and they browned a little too much. But shhh, let’s not tell anyone.
Allow the pumpkin(s) to cool completely at room temperature.
You don’t want to burn your fingers, so take the time to let them cool.
When ready, use a spoon to scoop out the flesh, or you can just use your hands to peel away the skin from the flesh.
Dump the pumpkin flesh into a food processor, and discard the skin.
Turn the processor on (with the lid tightly fasted, of course) and purée the pumpkin until it is completely smooth. Scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula as needed.
There should be no lumps in your pumpkin purée so make sure you blend it completely.
It looks just like the store bought kind right?
No! You’re wrong. Trick question. The correct answer is, it looks better than the store bought kind.
Pour the purée into a bowl of some kind, you’re ready to bake with it.
You’re ready to cook with it.
What’s that, you’re not going to use it right away? Oh no worries, you can store it in a mason jar, or an airtight container, and store it in the fridge.
The pumpkin purée will last about a week in the fridge, or if you’ve made a big batch and you’re not going to use it all, you can store the leftovers in the freezer and it will last up to one month.
Wasn’t this the simplest thing ever? Most people think that making pumpkin purée at home is extremely difficult. That it takes hours and hours to make. They often justify this by buying the readily available canned stuff from the super market. But you don’t know what is going into those jars along with the precious pumpkin. You don’t know what kinds of chemicals they add. You don’t want to eat chemicals do you?
Just make it at home for yourself. It’s an easy 5 step process.
I have to admit that I always used the canned pumpkin. I too thought it was difficult to make. However everything changed one autumn day when I decided to be brave and make it at home. I never went back.
Now every October and November all I do is make pumpkin purée so I can add it to everything I cook and bake.
Just in case you forget these easy steps and photographs and you want to keep a cheat sheet on hand to remind you, visit my friend’s site here. Russell at Chasing Delicious has made a wonderful cheat sheet on the five simple steps of making homemade pumpkin purée. And after you’ve made the purée and need something to make with it, go ahead and whip up a batch of his delicious (pun intended) Pumpkin Spice Doughnuts. Enjoy.
Homemade Pumpkin Purée
Yield: 1-1/2 cups, 1 medium sized pie pumpkin will yield enough purée to equal 1 (15 ounce) can.
- 1 medium pie pumpkin
- Baking sheet
- Aluminum foil
- Food processor
- mason jar, or some type of airtight container.
Preheat oven to 375°
Rinse the pie pumpkin and pat dry. Cut in half. Remove the stem and discard. Using a spoon or your hands, scoop out the seeds and membrane from the center of the pumpkin halves. Rinse the seeds and roast for snacking, or discard. Place pumpkin halves, cut-side down, onto a baking sheet lined with foil paper. It will make for easier clean up.
Roast the pumpkin for about 30 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking. Remove from the oven and allow to cool down to room temperature or until you are able to handle it without burning yourself. Using a spoon, remove the flesh from the skin and place into a food processor, discard the skin. Purée until the pumpkin is completely smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, as needed.
The mixture should be thick and smooth. If there is liquid in the purée, strain out before storing. Place the pumpkin in an airtight container, such as a mason jar. Store in the fridge. It will keep about a week in the fridge or up to a month in the freezer. Add it to all your autumn dinners and desserts. Enjoy.