It’s so freaking simple.
I first made pumpkin puree from scratch a few years ago when there was a pumpkin shortage. Remember that? After discovering that all I had in my pantry were cans of pureed pumpkin that had expired two years prior… measures needed to be taken.
This is super simple and only requires a pie pumpkin. You can really use any sort of pumpkin, but the ones that you carve aren’t ideal (I’ve heard they are stringy or something?), so it’s best to actually choose a pumpkin that is labeled as “pie,” or even a sugar or cheese pumpkin. There may be other varieties but these are the ones I’m aware of. If you know of others, leave tips in the comments below!
My grocery store tends to carry sugar pumpkins for pie making, and they look like smaller, smoother pumpkins that the ones you would carve. I have used them in the past, but this year I grabbed a pie pumpkin from my local farm. They looked at me like I had ten heads when I asked where their sugar pumpkins were, and directed me to a large crate of these funky looking pie pumpkins. Didn’t matter… still produced delicious puree.
First up, I slice off the stem and remove the seeds. I find that removing the seeds in any sort of square works best when I use my serrated grapefruit spoon.
I love that thing.
[You can roast the seeds, but we can talk about that later.]
Then I cut them into wedges. If they are small, I cut them in half once. I usually try to get wedges that are around the size of my hand because I know those will cook in about 45 minutes.
At this point, you can add oils, salt, seasoning, etc. If you’re just looking to make pure puree (ha!), don’t add a thing. For purity sakes, I didn’t add anything to mine. However, I’ve rubbed all the flesh down with coconut oil before and um… that’s incredible.
It’s up to you if you want to roast the wedges flesh up or flesh down. I’ve done both. You can also add them to a baking dish with a quarter inch of water or so, and I find that keeps the pumpkin from drying out. For examples’ sake, I roasted mine flesh up on a baking sheet. No water.
Roast those wedges until they are fork tender, then let them cool slightly. I find that it’s better to remove the flesh when it is still slightly warm.
The skin should be wrinkly and mostly pull right off. If there are any stringy parts, you can discard those if desired.
Then add the pumpkin to a food processor and blend the heck out of it. I’ve roasted a ton of pumpkins and some are dry, some are moist. There really isn’t a guarantee of what the texture will be like, but you can add a few spoonfuls of water while pureeing to get the texture you’d like. Adding a little water will also produce a puree that more closely resembles what comes out of the can.
I like mine to be super creamy since I tend to bake with it or stir it into pasta sauces.
If you’re used to baking with canned pumpkin puree, the texture may be slightly different so it can take a bit of playing around to get things right. But for the most part, I find that working with homemade puree is almost identical to using canned. I’m definitely not against used canned pumpkin, but I love supporting my local farm and doing this at home. It just feels GOOD. And it tastes good. The actual taste may differ a bit depending on your pumpkin, but I suggest adding a touch of salt after it has been pureed and go from there. You can load it on up with a bunch of pumpkin pie spice too and then do crazy stuff like put it in ice cream.
1 pie pumpkin
a few spoonfuls of water, if needed
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Slice the stem off the pumpkin and cut in half. If it's large enough, cut it in half once or twice more. Remove the seeds with a spoon (I like to use a grapefruit spoon with a serrated edge). Place the pumpkin wedges on a baking sheet skin-side down. Roast for 45 to 50 minutes until the skin begins to shrivel and the pumpkin is fork tender. Remove from the oven and let it cool until you can tough it. Remove the pumpkin from the skin and discard any pieces on top that may be tough.
Add it to a food processor or high-powered blender and puree until smooth. If the pumpkin seems dry, add a few tablespoons of water until it is moist and resembled the puree you see in a can. Store pumpkin in the fridge in a sealed container for about a week!