How to Make Pumpkin Purée

The Craft Beer Cookbook by Jacquelyn DoddJackie Dodd is a Los Angeles-based recipe developer, food photographer and food writer. She runs two food web sites: Domestic Fits, which combines original recipes with “how-to” cooking and baking tips, and The Beeroness, which focuses on cooking and baking with craft beer (yes, craft beer is unprocessed). Her first book, The Craft Beer Cookbook was just released this month and contains 100 imaginative recipes for cooking with beer. You can connect with her on TwitterFacebook and Pinterest.

This is a guest post for October Unprocessed. If this is your first time here, welcome! …and it’s not too late to join in!

How to make Pumpkin Purée

Sooooo, you want to Pumpkin All The Things but you took a pledge to ban the cans? I got you covered. And really, it’s simple. Turning a pumpkin into a pumpkin flavored treat is really easy, just takes a bit of time. But you can totally do this, and your unprocessed life will soon be filled with pumpkin scones, pumpkin pie, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin soup, and pumpkin toothpaste (oh wait…).

First, lets talk about the pumpkins. What pumpkins can be used? Can you make pie out of those Jack-O-Lantern pumpkins you buy your kids at the grocery store? What is a pie pumpkin?

You can eat any variety of pumpkin; all are squash and all are edible but not all pumpkins are grown to be eaten, so the variety you use will affect your results. (Be careful not confuse pumpkins with gourds – those are not edible.)

Jack-O-Lantern pumpkins have been bred for decades for qualities that have nothing to do with taste. Although still technically edible, the flavors are not taken into account when breeding. Jack-O-Lantern pumpkins are now bred for thick skin that can hold up to carving, as well as a heartiness to survive after being carved, and set outside with a candle stuck in its guts. Look for a pie pumpkin, most commonly called a Sugar Pie Pumpkin. They’re small, about the size of a cantaloupe. If you’re confused, jut ask your grocer.

Let’s get started.

1. Preheat oven to 375° F.

2. Remove the stem by running a butter knife around the edges and then prying it off.

How to make Pumpkin Purée

3. Cut the pumpkin in half, right through the hole left by the stem.

How to make Pumpkin Purée

4. Scoop the seeds out with a spoon.

[Andrew adds: Don’t toss those pumpkin seeds! Although it’s a rather slimy process, if you separate out the seeds, you can roast them in the oven for a fantastic Fall snack. Here’s a good tutorial on how to do it.]

How to make Pumpkin Purée

5. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place pumpkins on baking sheets, cover tightly with aluminum foil. Roast at 375° for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until a fork can easily slide into the skin.

How to make Pumpkin Purée

6. Allow to cool and scoop the flesh out.

How to make Pumpkin Purée

7. Add to a food processor and puree until smooth.

8. Store in an air-tight container. Pumpkin puree also freezes well.

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31 Responses to How to Make Pumpkin Purée

  1. Diana October 2, 2014 at 5:27 pm #

    If a sugar pie pumpkin yields about 2c of pumpkin puree, how much fresh pumpkin is needed to make a pie? I used to get the large cans of Libby’s pumpkin and it would make 2 9″ deep dish pies plus a little extra that I would just bake in a small casserole dish. Also, what is a good substitute for canned evaporated milk?

  2. Sondra October 2, 2014 at 1:35 pm #

    How long does it last when storing it?

  3. Lisa September 19, 2014 at 9:08 pm #

    I absolutely LOVE making my own pumpkin puree. Unfortunately, the stores always sell out of them before I get a chance to buy them. So this year I tried planting my own, and successfully ended up with three pie pumpkins and I am so excited because I actually grew them myself! Anyway, I was going to say that I find that it takes a lot of muscle to scoop out the seeds before cooking it, not to mention a bent up spoon. So I prefer to cut the pumpkin in half and cook it just the way it is, and then the insides scoop out way way easier after it has been cooked. And I do save the seeds for yummy roasted snacks.

    • Brighid October 1, 2014 at 12:33 pm #

      A sturdy ice cream scoop did the trick for me recently when scooping seeds.

  4. Rebecca October 27, 2013 at 6:54 pm #

    I have also found that if you place your halved pumpkin in a crock pot for 6 to 8 hours it comes out nice and mushy, it is also very easy to just peel the skin off. Just a helpful tip that has helped me!! :)

  5. Tina October 21, 2013 at 7:01 am #

    Can this be canned so as to not take up fridge space? And does baking kill the nutrients of the pumpkin? Wondered if you could make a raw version, hmm! Looks great, going to make today for smoothies.

    • Jenn September 4, 2014 at 3:17 pm #

      In order to safely can pumpkin, it has to be put under extreme heat. Even pressure cooker canning does not produce enough pressure. This is a result of the density of pumpkin. The recommended way to safely keep pumpkin is to freeze for longer term storage. Using a food sealing system helps avoid freezer burn.

  6. Terry October 14, 2013 at 9:19 pm #

    I can hardly wait to try to make this. We weren’t sure if the small pumpkins we see everywhere here were more edible than the large carving pumpkins. Thank you so much for this post and this recipe!

  7. Susi Castillo October 10, 2013 at 4:38 pm #

    Gracias! Que facil!

  8. Nadine October 9, 2013 at 7:31 pm #

    This is SO easy! Thank you for answering a question I’ve had for years. Looking forward to making pumpkin goodies.


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