Those adorable, little pie pumpkins that are in the produce section of your grocery store at the moment are for much more than crafting or painting spooky faces on. They are fantastic to cook with and more importantly, they can be used to make this gorgeous, all-natural pumpkin puree!
Now, humor me here, and take another look at that picture. Honestly, is that an amazing color or what?! Fresh, pure pumpkin puree is easier to make than you may think and it can be used in any recipe that calls for canned puree.
Now, let's not misunderstand each other here. I'm a busy, working mom. And, if you know me, you also know that I'm not opposed to helpful shortcuts in any form. So, yes, I'll still use the canned stuff too. And, to be perfectly honest, it wasn't very long ago that I made my own pumpkin puree for the first time.
Just two short years ago, I was blessed to be a full-time, stay-at-home mom. One day while I was out shopping, and just out of curiosity, I bought two pie pumpkins. After days of researching the possibilities, I decided to experiment and make my first batch of pumpkin puree. I managed to do it all in one morning while my daughter, who was an infant at the time, was down for a nap!
Once it was all said and done, I made pumpkin pies with it. Those pies were, plain and simple, the best pumpkin pies I've ever made! After the success with those delicious pies, I went on to use fresh pumpkin puree to make breads and pumpkin butter.
So, now that the seasonal, fall products, including these petite goodies, are out in stores, I'm planning ahead and making a huge batch of this dreamy stuff. I'm making sure I can make more of those pies for our Thanksgiving feast! Homemade pumpkin puree stores well, and can be frozen for up to three months.
If you try it, I believe you really will taste a difference.
** equipment needed: sharp chef's knife or cleaver, clean hand towel, metal ice cream scoop, food processor or blender
- 1 three-pound pie pumpkin
- canola oil or other cooking spray
- a cup or two of room temperature water, set aside
1. Pre-heat your oven to 400°. Carefully remove the top of the pie pumpkin. I always use a sharp chef's knife, and work in a slow, rotating, slicing motion. (Take it slow, keep a hand towel nearby, and use a firm grip. The pumpkin flesh can be a bit tough to slice.)
|I believe it's a good practice to have a safe distance between my work space and my loved ones before I start cutting pie pumpkins or large, tough-skinned squash!|
|Be prepared to apply steady pressure when cutting your cute, little pumpkin. She's a bit tougher than she looks!|
2. Next, cut the pumpkin in half.
3. Scoop out the stringy innards. I find using a metal ice cream scoop to remove pulp and seeds works the best. Set the pulp aside if you are going to use the seeds or discard it if you aren't.
4. Cut the seeded pumpkin into quarters and lightly coat the fleshy side with cooking spray. Place, flesh side down, onto a baking sheet and roast for about 25 minutes.
5. At the 25 minute mark, add 1/3 cup of water to the baking sheet. Put back in the oven and continue roasting for another 30 minutes or until the pumpkin flesh is fork-tender.
|This will step will produce steam. It will help the pumpkin skins to release easier.|
|When it's throughly cooked, a fork should easily pierce the pumpkin flesh.|
|How the cooked skins should look. They should peel right off!|
6. Allow the pumpkin to cool completely. Remove the skins and any bits that may be charred or blackened from roasting.
7. Working with two quarters of roasted pumpkin at a time, break into smaller chunks and place in your food processor or blender. Add 1/3 cup of water and process for 30 seconds. Add more water, a tablespoon or two at a time, as necessary and process until smooth.
8. Get ready for the possibilities now that you can make your own pumpkin puree! More fall recipes are coming up!