This time of year canned pumpkin puree is everywhere. I even saw it the other night in the grocery aisle at a gas station. For reals. But there is something so satisfying about roasting pumpkins and making your own puree.
Making pumpkin puree is super easy, doesn’t take long, and if you’ve got kiddos it makes for a really fun project. And if you roast the seeds and make a pie, well there’s a whole afternoon of family fun!
First you need some pumpkins. You can totally do this with big carving pumpkins (those make a lot of puree, ask me how I know) but I think it’s best to try this with smaller pumpkins. They’re usually called sugar pumpkins or pie pumpkins, and they are a lot easier to work with than the huge carving kind. The amount of puree you’ll wind up with will totally depend on how big your pumpkin(s) are, and how many you’re roasting. I find that one 4-5lb. pumpkin yields about as much as one can of pumpkin puree.
Remove the stem. If you pick a pumpkin with a stem long enough to grab onto you should be able to twist or pull it off pretty easy. If not, one good whack with a rubber mallet usually does the trick.
Then you’ll need to cut the pumpkins in half. I usually use the mallet again to get started. P.S. You’ll want to actually be holding the knife handle if you do this. It’s kind of tricky to hold the mallet, hold the knife, and hold the the camera all at the same time, but you get the idea.
Just keep going! This process is a lot easier if you’re doing this with a good quality sharp knife. More on that later!
And viola! You’ll be left with two halves. Most people call the insides of a pumpkin the guts or the goop, but in our house we call this pumpkin poop. Crazy #1 has a hearing impairment and one year he misunderstood “goop” as “poop” and, well, the phrase just stuck! Yes, we are a bunch of weirdos and we like it that way.
You’ll need to scoop out the pumpkin poop aka, the seeds and all the stringy stuff. I had helpers. This one preferred using a spoon to accomplish her task.
This one preferred getting his hands in there. Whichever method you prefer, scoop it all out. Save the seeds for roasting!
Place the pumpkin halves cut side down on a baking sheet.
Bake them in a 425 degree oven for about 45 minutes, up to one hour. Smaller pumpkins might require less time, and the opposite goes for larger pumpkins. The skins will get darker and shrivel up a bit. This is perfectly normal. They’re done when you can easily pierce through the skin with a knife.
When they’re still warm, but cool enough to handle, scoop out all the flesh.
Put the flesh in a food processor and pulse until it’s pureed. Depending on the size of your food processor you’ll probably have to do this in batches. You can make the puree as smooth or leave it as chunky as you want.
See? Easy peasy.
You can store this in the refrigerator for about a week, or freeze it for much longer. Or you could use it to make these enchiladas, these nachos, or (a little more on the traditional side) a homemade pumpkin pie. I’ll be honest, when it’s fresh and warm I sometimes eat it with a spoon. I love pumpkin almost as much as I love Starbucks, and that is saying something! If you want to turn all of the puree into pumpkin pie filling, simply add your favorite pumpkin pie spices right into the food processor! Easy peasy, right?
So that’s the puree…now it’s time for my first ever giveaway! My Mom and Dad have been visiting with us for the past few days. While she was here my Mom gave me sneaker money. What?! Ok…sneaker money is a tradition that was started by my Mammy and has been carried on by my Mom. Whenever she comes to visit she finds a quiet moment when we’re alone, slips me some cash, and tells me to go buy myself some new sneakers. That’s really code for go buy yourself something nice, which is exactly what I did. Since I have a little extra sneaker money left over, I decided to treat one of you lucky people to my favorite knife!
This is a J.A. Henckels Classics 7″ Santoku Knife. It’s pretty much the only knife I’ve ever used since I got it close to seven years ago. Mine is no longer this shiny and new looking, but it still cuts like a dream and is really comfortable to hold. It will make all your chopping, dicing, and roast pumpkin puree making much easier. A sharp knife really does make a world of difference in the kitchen! P.S. J.A. Henckels has no idea who I am, and has not sponsored or influenced this post in any way.
To enter this giveaway just leave a comment below telling me what your favorite thing is to make with pumpkin puree. I’ll pick a winner next Thursday, October 31st, 2013 (Halloween!), and I will announce the winner here and on my Facebook page. To win you must be a resident of the U.S., and although you can leave as many comments as you want, only one comment per person will be counted. Good luck!
10/31/2013 – The winner of the knife is Cindy Aiton! Please contact me so I know where to send it. Congratulations and thanks to everyone who entered!
- 2 Small 4-5lb. Pumpkins (Usually Labeled Sugar Pumpkins)
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Twist off the stems and cut the pumpkins in half. Scoop out all the seeds and stringy flesh with a spoon or your hands.
- Place the pumpkin halves cut side down on a baking sheet. Roast at 425 degrees for about 30-45 minutes, or until the pumpkin inside is tender and you can easily pierce through the skin.
- Cool the pumpkins just until you can handle them, but you still want them to be warm. Scoop out all the roasted pumpkin and discard the skin.
- Add the roasted pumpkin to the bowl of a food processor and puree until it’s as smooth as you desire. You may need to add the pumpkin in batches, depending on the size of your food processor.
- You can store the puree in the refrigerator for about a week, or freeze it for up to three months.