Well, it’s October, and the seasonal pumpkin products are out in FULL force. You’re either a fan or you’re not. Since most of those pumpkin flavored foods, drinks, and treats are artificially flavored, I myself am NOT a fan. What I am a fan of, is eating pumpkin foods that are made from an ACTUAL pumpkin! (Imagine that!)
Pumpkin is a very healthy real food. It is part of the squash family and there are tons of great, real food recipes that call for pumpkin in the puree form. (Pinterest is exploding with them right now!) Believe it or not, making your own puree is actually pretty simple!
But, why make your own when they have it at the store, in a can, for maybe a dollar or two? There are two big reasons…
- Supports local farms – I am passionate about this. We need to keep our family farms up and running and rely as little as possible on corporate food companies that tend to focus primarily on profits. Not to mention local means fresher food and a smaller carbon footprint.
- Self-sufficiency – Maybe you are lucky enough to have room to grow your own pumpkins. (Yay! That’s awesome!) Growing your own, pureeing and preserving them yourself is a huge self-sustaining skill! That’s saying, “I don’t need you to use your big factory to make me pumpkin puree because I can do it MYSELF!”
There is basically one ingredient when making your own pumpkin puree and that’s pumpkin, of course! But, be aware, there is a BIG difference between those giant carving pumpkins you buy for jack-o-lanterns and the flavorful varieties of pie pumpkins.
Pie pumpkin varieties are what you will want for making your puree. Butternut squash also works very well, too. Today I used one of each and blended them together. Mine came in my CSA share (Learn about CSAs HERE), but any fall farmer’s market or farm stand will have them in abundance.
Let’s get started!
PERFECT PUMPKIN PUREE
- WASH IT – When they come from your garden or a local farm, don’t be surprised that you will need to give your pumpkins a good washing. Make sure all the dirt and residue is removed.
- CUT IT UP – Cut open and remove seeds and membranes (I use a big metal serving spoon to scrape out the “guts”. Save the seeds if you want to make roasted pumpkin seeds!) Cut the pumpkin into one or two-inch pieces. I leave the skins on because they pretty much fall off on their own after being steamed.
- STEAM – I use my stock pot that came with a fitted veggie steamer. Add a few inches of water to the stock pot and bring to a boil. Steam pumpkin until tender and skins are falling off. Approximately 20 minutes.
- REMOVE SKINS – Once it’s cooked, let it cool until you can handle it without burning yourself. Remove skins and discard. Pumpkin skins will fall off on their own. You might need a paring knife to remove the skin of a butternut squash.
- PUREE – I LOVE using my immersion blender, but a food processor will work beautifully too. Blend until nice and smooth.
(I use my immersion blender ALL THE TIME! Mine also came with attachments to use as a hand mixer. Perfect for pancake batter! I also can’t get enough of my food processor. It makes the best smoothies, salsa, chopped kale, shreds cabbage for coleslaw, and zucchini for bread like a breeze. Chop, slice and puree almost anything! Mine are both Hamilton Beach so the price is right too! Affiliate links at the end of the post 🙂 )
- STORE – Fill pint-sized mason jars, leaving about an inch of headspace at the top. Label, date and freeze. Pumpkin puree will last several months in the freezer. When you’re ready to use your puree, either take it out and thaw in fridge overnight or for a faster thaw, place the jar in cold water.
TIP: Other than the steaming step, nothing in this process is time sensitive. When I made mine for this tutorial, I did a step here and there while I was making dinner and doing other kitchen duties. You can even get the pumpkin cut up and pop it in the fridge to steam and puree later. It barely seems like added effort when you can break up the process. But, I am also a HUGE fan of multitasking. 🙂
I hope I’ve inspired you to try making your own pumpkin puree! Think of all the yummy pumpkin goodies you can now make COMPLETELY from scratch! I think that definitely earns you some big time bragging rights.
What is your favorite fall pumpkin recipe?
Questions? Comments? Added tips? Connect with me in the comments below.
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