How to Make Pumpkin Puree

Three Methods:Picking and Processing PumpkinsRoasting, Peeling and Pureeing the PumpkinUsing Pumpkin Puree

Homemade pumpkin puree is the delicious base for pumpkin pie, cookies, and many other tasty autumn dishes. It's made from fresh pumpkins that are roasted and peeled. This article explains how to pick out good pumpkins and turn them into puree.

Method 1
Picking and Processing Pumpkins

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    Get small pie or sugar pumpkins. You can make pumpkin puree out of any type of pumpkin, but for the most concentrated flavor (and the best for making pie), go for the smaller pumpkins that are intended to be used in recipes, rather than choose jack-o-lantern sized squash. Each pumpkin will yield a cup or so of puree.
    • Look for pumpkins with bright orange flesh, no big bruises or gouges, and a relatively uniform shape.
    • Heirloom pumpkins often have striated colors like yellow and green in addition to orange. These make great puree, too, but the color may not be the classic bright orange you're used to.
    • Avoid decorative baby pumpkins - these don't contain enough meat to make much pumpkin puree, and they aren't grown to be eaten.
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    Wash the pumpkins. Run them under cold water and scrub away any dirt or other debris, especially if you got the pumpkins from your garden or a pumpkin patch.
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    Cut the pumpkins. Start by chopping off the stems, leaving as much of the body intact as possible. Next slice the pumpkins in half, revealing their seeds.
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    Scoop out the seeds. Use a large spoon to scoop all of the pumpkin seeds from the halves into a bowl. Save the seeds for later, since they're delicious roasted. Scoop out as many of the orange strings as you can, too.
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    Slice the halves into wedges. Finish processing the pumpkins by slicing the halves into quarters. You should now have 8 (or more, if you're using more than 2 pumpkins) wedges of pumpkin to work with.

Method 2
Roasting, Peeling and Pureeing the Pumpkin

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    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C).
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    Place the pumpkin wedges on a baking sheet. Space them evenly along the baking sheet, skin-side down. Try not to let any of the wedges touch, since they won't cook as evenly that way. There's no need to drizzle oil on the wedges; the puree should have no ingredients aside from pure pumpkin if you plan on using it in a recipe later.[1]
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    Roast the wedges. Place the baking sheet in the oven and let the wedges bake for about 40 minutes. When the wedges are finished, you should be able to easily slide a fork through the flesh. Remove them from the oven and let them cool.
    • Don't roast the wedges until they turn brown; this affects the flavor of the puree. They should be roasted until they're just cooked through.
    • Pour some water into the baking tray with the wedges to prevent them from overcooking. The water will create steam as it heats up, helping the pumpkin cook evenly without browning.
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    Peel the wedges. Once the wedges are cool enough to handle, it's time to peel the skin away from the flesh. Use your fingers to lift the skin off of the pumpkin meat. It should come off quite easily. You can use a fork to help you separate the skin if necessary. Put the pumpkin meat into a bowl and discard the skin.
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    Puree the pumpkin flesh. Place it in a food processor and pulse it until it's completely smooth. Check to make sure there are no remaining lumps. If you don't have a food processor, you can use a blender or a potato masher instead.
    • If the pumpkin puree seems too dry, add a few spoonfuls of water to moisten it.
    • If the pumpkin puree seems too wet, strain it through cheesecloth before storing.
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    Store the puree. Pumpkin puree can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for several days. You can also place it in freezer bags and freeze it for a few months for later use.

Method 3
Using Pumpkin Puree

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    Make pumpkin pie filling. This is the classic use for pumpkin puree, and one of the most delicious. You've done the hard part by making the puree; all that's left to create a delectable pumpkin pie filling is adding the right spices and a few more ingredients.[2] To make enough filling for one pie, mix 3 cups of pumpkin puree with the following ingredients, then pour it into a pie crust:
    • 6 eggs
    • 1 tablespoon cream
    • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
    • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
    • 3 cups evaporated milk
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
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    Make pumpkin bread. This wholesome fall dessert is a delicious way to use up extra pumpkin puree. Mix pumpkin puree with flour, baking soda, sugar, olive oil, eggs, and and chocolate chips, then pour the batter into a bread pan and bake. It's simple, and it will leave your house smelling wonderful.
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    Make pumpkin soup. How about a savory use for pureed pumpkin? Making soup is a great choice for a quick weeknight dinner. Simply sauté a chopped onion and some garlic in a pat of butter in a large stockpot. Add 2 cups of pumpkin puree and stir until heated through. Add 2 cups of chicken or vegetable stock and bring the soup to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Sprinkle in salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste. Top with a swirl of sour cream.

Tips

  • Make enough pumpkin puree to use all winter, then freeze it in food storage bags that hold 2 cups each.

Article Info

Categories: Squash