As leaves on trees begin to turn their beautiful orange, red and yellow color and the cooler weather slowly starts to appear in the Midwest, I know its time to make my pumpkin recipes using my own pumpkin puree and enjoy the flavor of fall! I enjoy growing my own pie pumpkins, but always have the challenge on where to plant them in my suburban backyard garden. I have found a pie pumpkin I enjoy named Small Sugar (or New England Pie). It’s a compact, semi-bush plant that has excellent flavor and is a Pre-Civil War Heirloom. It can be purchased through Burpee.
I have used canned pumpkin before and it is good, but I just enjoy making my own. Below is how I puree my pie pumpkins. Feel free to modify to your own kitchen equipment. I recently baked five pie pumpkins and made approximately eight cups of puree.
Homemade Pumpkin Puree
Prep Time: 15 minutes plus time for mashing/pureeing
Bake Time: at least 1 hour
Preheat Oven to 350oF.
Cut your pie pumpkins in half and scoop out all the pulp and seeds with a scoop or large spoon. Save the seeds to use for later.
Place pumpkin halves face down on a cookie sheet or baking dish. Whatever you have is fine. Add water on the bottom of the sheet or dish to prevent burning. I put enough water in the dish to cover the bottom.
Bake the pumpkins for one hour until fork-tender. The flesh will be a beautiful golden burnt orange color.
Scoop the baked flesh from the shells and process in a food processor in batches until smooth. If you don’t have a food processor, you can use a blender, food mill, potato masher, potato ricer or whatever you have in your kitchen that would accomplish the same goal. If the pumpkin looks a little dry during this process, just add a little water.
Use the pumpkin puree immediately or store in a freezer for up to three months, but I usually store it longer. I place a heaping one cup size puree in a sandwich bag and then store the sandwich bags in a one gallon freezer bag. Just a note, the longer it stays in the freezer, the puree may become more watery when it defrosts. If you don’t want it to be watery when using it in your recipes, just strain it in cheesecloth before using.
Please be sure to submit your comments below. I’m always looking for improvements on my posts and recipes!