Prep time: 10mins
Cook time: 45-60mins
Makes 5 to 6 cups pumpkin puree
Make your own pumpkin puree at home. It’s easy and works perfectly in your favorite pumpkin recipes. Try making puree from leftover pumpkins from Halloween. If buying directly from farmers at the farmers’ market, ask them which pumpkin works best for your needs. This method works with most winter squashes — like butternut, acorn, honeynut, and other varieties.
*Ingredients currently available at the farmers’ market
● 1-2 small pumpkins*
● Fine sea salt, optional
Heat the oven to 400 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Rinse and pat dry the pumpkin. Before cutting the pumpkin in half, if it doesn’t sit steady to cut safely, slice asmall bit away from the bottom so that it does. Cut the pumpkin in half. With a spoon or a scoop, scrape out the seeds and pulp from the center. You don’t have to be too thorough with this.
Lightly season the inside of the pumpkin halves with salt then place cut-side-down onto the baking sheet. Bake until the pumpkin(s) can easily be pierced with a knife in several places and the flesh is pulling away from the skin, 45 to 60 minutes. Cool until you can safely handle the halves then scoop out the soft flesh into a food processor — depending on how large the pumpkin is, you may need to do this in two batches. Process until very smooth, 3 to 5 minutes.
● Place all the seeds into a bowl so that you can roast them later for a healthy snack.
● If you don’t have a food processor, a blender will work if you add a little water. Or you can simply mash with a potato masher, or move through a potato ricer, or process through a food mill.
● If the puree is overly watery, you should strain it on a cheesecloth or over a fine mesh strainer to get rid of some of the liquid. This will be especially helpful for baking purposes.
● Make-ahead: Store homemade pumpkin puree in food-safe containers in the fridge for up to 1 week. To freezer, spoon about 1 cupful of pumpkin into plastic storage bags. Seal the bag with a small opening remaining, then use your hands to flatten out the puree inside the bag and push out the air. Store in the freezer until you need them or up to 3 months.