You know those things that you buy regularly, only to realize they are super easy to make? Canned pumpkin is one of those things. It is ridiculously easy to make at home. What’s more, it’s sort of fun to make as well. My kids love helping me make pumpkin puree.
All you need to make organic pumpkin puree is an organic pumpkin (bonus points if it comes from your garden), a sharp knife, a roasting pan, a metal spoon, and a helper if you don’t like to pull out the pumpkin guts.
The best pumpkins for making a puree from are:
- Sugar Pumpkins
- Pie Pumpkins
Now let’s get started making some puree.
Step #1 – Get a cute helper to rip out guts.
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Pull off the stem of your pumpkin and slice the pumpkin in half from top to bottom. My pumpkin is homegrown and huge (aim for a smaller 5-8lb pumpkin if you can). Grab a bowl, a helper, and a metal spoon. Let your helper go crazy pulling out the pumpkin guts.
Step #2 – Check for imperfections that should be removed.
If said helper is under the age of 10, you may want to do a quick once-over to make sure all guts have been properly removed. You’ll also want to remove any less-than-ideal sections. Because our pumpkin got so large, it tipped over and the moisture from the grass left some damage to the back. I simply cut those pieces out.
Step #3 – Compost your pumpkin guts.
If you have a compost bin, or even better, chickens, you’ll want to save those pumpkin guts. Pumpkin seeds contain cucurbitacin, which may act as an herbal dewormer for your chickens and the pumpkin guts are loaded with nutrients. My compost bin is located in the chicken yard, so the girls get to enjoy our kitchen scraps.
Step #4 – Steam your pumpkin in the oven.
Place the cleaned out pumpkin open-side down in a roasting pan or casserole dish with 1″ of water. Place in preheated oven and cook for 45 minutes to an hour. If your pumpkin is large, it may take a bit longer. After 45 minutes, try spearing it with a fork. When the fork goes in smoothly after piercing the pumpkin’s skin, it’s finished.
Step #5 – Separate pumpkin flesh from the skin and puree.
Let your pumpkin cool to a comfortable temperature. Then your pumpkin is cool enough to handle, scrape out the flesh, leaving the skin behind. I’ve discovered that scooping from side to side reduces the risk of accidentally gouging the skin. As you scoop out the flesh, add it to a blender or food processor. Puree it until smooth and transfer to a safe container. I prefer glass jars, but BPA-free plastic is a good choice as well.
That’s it! Because it was steamed, there may be more fluid than you are accustomed to. If you are using your puree for baking, you may want to press out some of the liquid using a cheesecloth. Don’t get rid of those juices, though. I’m going to show you a trick to enhancing cookies with the juice during October’s #CookieMonth14. If you are using it in a soup or as a dressing for meat, you’ll find that the flavor is much richer using steamed puree.
Have you thrown out your store bought canned pumpkin yet? What is your favorite thing to make with pumpkin puree? Share in the comments below.