I know, I know. Thanksgiving is tomorrow, and pumpkin season is coming to a close. Once December hits, everyone will forget about pumpkin spice goodies and moved on to gingerbread and peppermint treats. However, if you’re like me, your fall decorations include sweet little pie pumpkins in every nook and cranny of your house. As you put away your fall decor and start to break out the lights and tinsel, don’t throw those pumpkins away! Make them into homemade pumpkin puree.
Making your own pumpkin puree is relatively easy to make, and takes little effort. You’ll need some small pie pumpkins, which can usually be found at your grocery store or farmer’s market. (The big jack-o-lantern’s don’t work well for puree, as they’re not sweet enough.) For every pound of fresh pumpkin, you should yield about 1 cup of puree. You can store your puree in the refrigerator for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to 6 months. Freeze your pumpkin in 1 cup servings so it is easy to defrost a little at a time for recipes. Need some pumpkin ideas? Check out my pumpkin tag.
Yields: 1 cup of puree per 1 pound of pumpkin
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Clean the outside of your pumpkin with hot water, then dry with paper towels. Cut off the stem, the cut the pumpkins in halve, exposing the inside.
Scoop out the center and discard the seeds and the stringy membrane. Place the halves flesh side down on a baking sheet. Add enough water to the baking sheet to cover the bottom. Bake for 60-90 minutes until the flesh is very soft.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Using a cookie scoop, remove as much of the pumpkin as possible. Using a food processor or blender, puree the pumpkin until smooth. Strain your pumpkin through cheesecloth or a coffee filter to remove the excess water. Use as desired in your favorite recipes, or freeze for later use.