By Erin Huffstetler | 11/01/2017 | No Comments
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Pumpkin is a staple in my house. We use it in soups, pasta dishes, pies, muffins – heck, we even feed it to our chickens. So, when fall rolls around, I get busy making lots of pumpkin puree. If you’ve never made it before, it’s definitely worth the effort.
You can use any type of pumpkin to make puree, but sugar pie or heirloom pumpkins will give you the most puree. That’s because they tend to have thicker flesh. Expect to get around one cup of puree per pound of pumpkin.
If you’re buying pumpkins specifically to make puree, look for pumpkins labeled as pie pumpkins, or go with an heirloom variety, like Musquee de Provence, Cinderella, Winter Luxury, Cheese, Galeux D’Eysines, Cushaw or Fairytale. Select pumpkins that feel heavy for their size. They’ll give you the most puree. It’s pretty typical for a small pie pumpkin to weigh 10 pounds and an heirloom pumpkin to weigh as much as 20 pounds!
Being a frugal sort, it’s pretty rare for me to actually buy pumpkins for puree. I usually just scoop up everyone’s uncarved pumpkins when they put them out at the curb after Thanksgiving. Because of this, I can tell you that even a jack o’ lantern will give you good puree.
Let me show you how easy it is to make pumpkin puree.
How to Make Pumpkin Puree
What You Do:
Use a butcher knife to split your pumpkin in half.
Then, scoop out all the seeds and goop, and remove the stem.
Cut the pumpkin into smaller wedges.
Then, place the wedges on a baking sheet, skin side down (it’s less messy that way). If it’s a small pumpkin, you’ll probably have enough to fill two sheets. If it’s a large pumpkin, you may have enough to fill three or four!
Roast your pumpkin in a 375 degrees. It’ll take at least an hour, but may take longer – perhaps even twice as long. Every pumpkin is a bit different. You’ll know yours is done, when the flesh feels soft, when you poke it with a fork.
Allow your roasted pumpkin to cool until you can handle it comfortably. Then, remove the skins. I usually just run my thumb between the skin and the flesh to separate the two. It’s messy, but quick. And it minimizes waste.
Load all of that gorgeous pumpkin into a food processor, and puree it, until it reaches a nice, smooth consistency.
Here’s what it should look like. Yours may be a slightly different color, depending on the variety that you used. My favorite pumpkin, the Musquee de Provence, produces a bright orange puree.
Once you’ve pureed all of your pumpkin, it needs to be strained. This step is important, so don’t skip it! Pumpkin has a high water content, and if you don’t strain that extra water out, it’ll make any recipe you use it in a soggy mess.
Straining it is easy. Just place a colander inside of a large mixing bowl, and line the colander with a piece of cheesecloth. Then, pour the puree on top of the cheesecloth, and place the whole contraption in the fridge overnight. As the water drains from the pumpkin, it’ll go through the colander and into the bowl.
If you look closely at my set up, you’ll see that I didn’t actually use cheesecloth. That’s because I’ve discovered that a five-gallon paint strainer bag from the hardware store works even better. They’re a lot easier to clean than cheesecloth, and they have a nifty elastic band that fits snugly around the bowl. They also happen to be a lot more durable than cheesecloth. This cheap $1.07 bag will last for many, many batches of pumpkin puree.
Tempted to skip the straining step?
Look at all of the water that I strained out of this batch of puree. That’s enough to wreck a pumpkin pie.
Once you get that extra water out, your pumpkin puree is ready to use!
How to Store Your Homemade Pumpkin Puree
If you don’t plan to use your puree right away, it can be frozen. The USDA no longer considers it safe to water bath or pressure can pumpkin puree at home.
I like to freeze my puree in pint freezer jars. One jar is the equivalent of one can of store-bought puree (approximately two cups), so this makes it easy to know how much I need to add to recipes.
Split your pumpkin in half, and scoop out all the seeds.
Then, cut the pumpkin into wedges, and place them on a baking sheet, skin side down.
Roast in a 375 degree oven, for an hour, or until the flesh is tender. (Some pumpkins may take twice as long).
Allow the roasted pumpkin to cool, until you can handle it comfortably. Then, peel off the skins, and puree it in a food processor or blender.
Strain the excess water out of your puree by placing it in a cheesecloth-lined colander, over a large mixing bowl, and placing it in the fridge overnight.
Transfer your finished puree to freezer-safe containers, and freeze until you’re ready to use it. The USDA no longer recommends water bath or pressure canning homemade puree.
- Any pumpkin can be used to make puree, but pie or heirloom pumpkins will give you the most puree per pound. Musquee de Provence, Cinderella, Winter Luxury, Cheese, Galeux D’Eysines, Cushaw or Fairytale are excellent heirloom varieties for puree.
- Expect to get one cup of puree per pound of pumpkin
Ways to Use Your Pumpkin Puree