It’s that time of the year again…. pumpkin everything! Of course, everyone hears about the pumpkin spice lattes and other drinks. But what about all of the delicious desserts and food that can be made from pumpkin puree?
I know many people are purchasing pumpkins now, or will be soon, to get ready for Halloween. Pumpkin carving is a lot of fun, and is a great family tradition if you celebrate the season.
But, if you are anything like me, the time can just slip away and next thing you know you are setting a plain, uncarved, untouched pumpkin out on the front porch. We’ve done this a few times now because we just run out of time to carve with all of the other events that the Fall season brings.
When this happens, what are you going to do with that extra pumpkin (or four) that you have?
My suggestion: use it to make your own pumpkin puree to use in recipes for the season! Trust me, one average-sized pumpkin makes a lot more puree than you would think. You’ll have plenty to make pumpkin pie, pumpkin pasties, pumpkin smoothies, and any other pumpkin foods.
We have been doing this for a couple of years now, and end up giving the puree away to family and friends to use for their Thanksgiving desserts because we just can’t use it all.
Luckily, though, you can freeze the puree to use at a later time.
You’ll notice as you are making your puree that it’s a much different color than the canned pumpkin puree. But, this is pure pumpkin, no added ingredients or colors or anything else. And, we find that it tastes better, too, since it’s straight from a fresh pumpkin.
Step by Step
Preheat the oven to 400F. Start by cutting the top off of the pumpkin, similar to how you would if carving it.
Cut the pumpkin in half starting from the top and going to the base of the pumpkin.
Remove the seeds and the stringy parts of the pumpkin. You can save the seeds to make roasted pumpkin seeds, and the stringy part can be used to make pumpkin bread.
Brush the fleshy sides of the pumpkin with olive oil and sprinkle with a bit of salt.
Use a pan that has high enough sides that any moisture from the pumpkins won’t drip into the oven. I find one half of a regular pumpkin fits well in a 9×13 glass dish. Turn the pumpkins over so the flesh side is down and bake for about 30-45 minutes, depending on the size of the pumpkin. They should be soft enough that a knife can easily press through the skin.
Remove the pumpkin from the oven and carefully move it to a cooling rack. Let it cool for about an hour, then use a spoon to pull the flesh from the skin. The skin can then be thrown in a compost bin so you aren’t wasting any part of the pumpkin.
Place the flesh in a blender and blend until it is smooth. I usually have to add up to a 1/2 cup of water to the blender to get it to puree well.
The puree will store in the refrigerator for up to one week or the freezer for up to 3 months.
- 1 pumpkin
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- Preheat the oven to 400F
- Cut the top off of the pumpkin, then cut the pumpkin in half from stem to base
- Scoop out the seeds and stringy parts of the pumpkin, leaving as much flesh as possible
- Drizzle the pumpkin flesh with oil and sprinkle with salt
- Place the pumpkin in a baking dish with the flesh side down and bake for 30-45 minutes, until soft
- Move the pumpkin to a cooling rack and let cool for one hour
- Carefully scoop out all of the flesh from the skin and place in a blender
- Blend the pumpkin until smooth, about 3-5 minutes
- Store for 1 week in the refrigerator or 3 months in the freezer
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