There is something about a small, chubby pumpkin that inspires absolute delight in me. I don’t know why; I just find them irresistibly cute. So, when I finally got a chance to pick some up for this blog post, I was happy. Very happy. I was all alone shopping, but with two pumpkins in my arms I couldn’t have felt more satisfied.
Today I am going to teach you how to make your own pumpkin purée. “Why would I want to know that,” you might ask?
Well, here’s a few reasons.
1) It is more cost effective. Consider: It usually costs $3-$4 for 1 tin of canned pumpkin purée. I bought two whole pumpkins for $5 and got more than 4x the amount you’d get from one can. WIN!
2) It is more gratifying. There is nothing like the satisfaction of saying, “I made that pumpkin pie” – knowing all the while that you didn’t just make a pie; you made a pumpkin INTO a pie. LIKE A BOSS!
3) Fresh pumpkin just tastes better. And feels healthier. SCORE!
4) You get to buy cute chubby pumpkins. HAPPINESS!
So, end result?
You get to win like a boss and score happiness.
I think you need this tutorial in your life.
All you need are some pie pumpkins, a cookie sheet, a knife, a spoon, and a food processor. A bowl or two will come in handy as well. Most of this, you likely already have.
Now to answer another question you might be asking.
Why pie pumpkins? And what’s the difference between that and a regular ol’ pumpkin??
Well, my mamma says that pie pumpkins are more fleshy and less watery than regular pumpkins. They are typically smaller and darker in color than your average pumpkin, and they make *beautiful* purée. You can use any pumpkin to make purée, and most of the time it doesn’t really make a difference in your recipes. However, assuming that you’re buying pumpkins for the sake of puréeing them, I’m just going to tell you to look for the best. Sometimes pie pumpkins are marked as such when you buy them, but just in case not, you can know them by sight when you see those larger-than-tiny-(but-definitely-not-large)-darkish-in-color-pumpkins. Those are the ones you want. 🙂
Pick up some of those beauties, and if you’re like me, have a photo shoot with them. 😀
Next, say your goodbyes and prepare them to meet their destiny. Wipe them down with a clean cloth (or wash them if they’re really dirty), and place them on a cookie sheet.
Using a small paring knife, pierce them all over (just to break through the skin, doesn’t have to be deep). The pumpkins will probably cry, but don’t worry. It’s just a reflex. 😉
Now you can bake them! Bake them in a 350 degree F oven for 1-1/2 hours, or until a knife inserted into a pumpkin slides in and out easily. Remove them from the oven to cool.
Here’s a picture, before and after baking.
When the pumpkins are cool, remove the stem (you should be able to just pull it off easily), and cut them in half.
Next, using a large spoon, scoop out the insides. You can keep the seeds to roast them if you like. That is delicious. Just a bit of season salt, and some time in the oven on a cookie sheet… Mm. Good times.
Once the seeds are removed, scoop the soft pumpkin flesh out of the shell and put it into your food processor.
Whizz it up for a few minutes, and voila! Smooth and lovely. 🙂
Store whatever pumpkin you’re not using right away in the freezer, pre-measuring it for later use. For example, if you plan to make pies with the pumpkin, check your recipe to see how much you’d need for 1-2 pies and freeze that amount in a small container. I always date mine and label it with masking tape. Make sure to write the amount in your container on the label so that you can easily remember later on!
I used 2 pie pumpkins for this tutorial and got a total yield of about 8 cups of purée.
Fun fact: You can use butternut squash or mashed sweet potato as a pumpkin substitute in pretty much any recipe. They all work beautifully in place of each other. 🙂
I hope this was helpful! Leave your thoughts in the comments.