It’s that time of year, friends! Fall!
Here in AZ fall is particularly exciting because it means summer is almost over.
See, we don’t actually have fall in the sense that other states do. We go from summer to winter in about a day.
Okay, I’m exaggerating. About a week. We get about a week of fall then go straight into winter. A mild winter by manys standards, but still.
So when other states begin to experience fall, we know relief is in sight! And nothing says fall like PUMPKINS!
I get pretty excited when I start seeing pie pumpkins in grocery stores. Not only are they fun to decorate with but they are delicious. I have never met a pumpkin recipe I didn’t enjoy.
Pumpkin Seeds. Pumpkin Pancakes. Pumpkin Creamer. Pumpkin Granola. Pumpkin Pie. Pumpkin Bread. Pumpkin Cake…I’m like the Bubba Gump of pumpkin. At least in my own mind.
Since I love it so, I eat pumpkin year round. Enter: homemade pumpkin puree.
Oh man. It’s easy, fresh, has less chemicals than canned pumpkin (my pumpkins were not organic), freezes perfectly, has no added sugar or oil, and is affordable. REALLY affordable. Cheaper than store bought, in fact That’s an all around win.
To be as efficient as possible I always use two pie pumpkins at once and repeat about 2-3 times a season. But, if you are newb and not sure if you want to commit to two pumpkins, you can easily follow the steps below with just one pumpkin. This is really less of a recipe and more of a quick tutorial.
We'll start with how to make puree below and following the tutorial (and I'll share some tips for efficiency and speed), we'll break down the cost in the Total Cost section, and finish up with the A Few Tips section, I'll share a few things I've learned from making my own puree for half a decade.
Homemade Pumpkin Puree
1-2 pie pumpkins
- cutting board
- large, sturdy knife
- quart size freezer bags
- a spatula
- a measuring cup
- a food processor
- a strainer
- 1-2 large baking pans.
1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Chop off the stem of the pumpkin.
2. Cut that little gourd in half.
3. Scoop out the seeds and guts. I put mine straight into a colander for roasting later on. (Click here for that Salted Garlic Roasted Pumpkin Seeds recipe.)
4. Cut the half in half once more and then cut the bottom off. That sucker is impossible to cut through so let's just get it outta there.
5. And then cut into manageable slices. About 6-8 per pumpkin half, depending on the size of your pumpkins. Mine were on the larger side, for reference. This was a particularly large pumpkin, so I got about 9-10 slices per half.
6. Gently and carefully use your knife to scrape off most of the remaining brains on each slice. Doesn’t have to be perfect, just get most of it because after it cooks it’s a different texture than the pulp part of the slice and you don’t want that mucking up your beautiful puree.
7. Line ‘em up on a baking pan and try to space them well enough so they are mostly not touching each other. (Since I chopped and roasted 2 pumpkins, I put mine on two different baking pans.)
8. Toss ‘em in the oven for about 45 minutes.
9. They are done when they darken in color and they start to look mushy along the bottom.
10. When they are done let them cool for a moment and pull out your food processor. If you don't have a food processor, you could use a stand mixer with the whisk attachment and just pull out any stringy parts that don't break up. It works alright, it's just a little less efficient than a food processor.
11. As soon as they are cool enough to handle, start separating the pulp from the skin. The cooler they get, the more time this takes. I have found the easiest way is to break it into pieces and if they are still warm the skin usually falls right off.
12. Break it into chunks and toss ‘em into the food processor.
13. When it’s about half full I like to turn it on low and get it going so I can add chunks as I go. Seems to take a little less time that way.
14. Keep an eye on how full it's getting in there. If you roasted up 2 pie pumpkins that were on the large side like mine were, you may need to scoop some of that puree out halfway through.
15. Blend until pulp is smooth and even.
16. Time to measure and bag it up! Fold over the top of the freezer bag so it’s out of the way and easy to insert the spatula.
17. Measure an even cup of puree.
18. Scoop the cup of puree into the bag.
17. Carefully flatten pumpkin in the bag to remove air and seal it up.
18. To freeze I put mine on a small baking sheet and gently flatten the stack. This way they freeze nice and flat and won’t break or topple over when I go rummaging around in the freezer.
This batch yielded me 8 cups of pumpkin! Pretty good.
Now I only need to cook about 4 more pumpkins to get my yearly stash ready. Just kidding. I'm only going to cook 2 more. 4 would be excessive. Or would it?
So what did it cost me?
I spent about $1.99 per pumpkin.
Times 2 = $3.98
Plus about $0.085 per bag. That’s about $0.68.
For a grand total of $4.66.
That’s only $0.58/ cup! Not bad. Not bad at all.
A Few Tips:
1. Get 'em early.
Grab those pie pumpkins early on in the season for the best puree. The ones you can get later on in the season are still good, they're just not as good.
2. Use 'em up quick.
I have found that when I cut and roast them within a week of purchase, the texture and color are far superior to when I let them sit in the fridge for weeks on end.
3. Buy the big ones.
Pie pumpkins are usually not sold by the pound, but individually. So, to make the most amount of puree for as little money as possible, buy the biggest pie pumpkins you can. And if you get them closer to the beginning of the season, you usually have the best luck with this.
Alright, there you have it. You're ready to make pumpkin puree! And then you can make ALL the pumpkin recipes!
Do you have any other tips for making pumpkin puree? If so, please leave a comment and help a pumpkin -lover out!
Happy roasting and puree-ing, friends! And whatever you make, make it yours!
Here's more recipes you should have a look at: