Homemade Pumpkin Puree

 Listen up.  This is important. 

Just like learning to boil water, toast bread, or when to put your hand on a hot baking sheet (never!) making your own pumpkin puree is just a thing that all home cooks and bakers should know how to do.

Spiced Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies! Two variations - Healthy Gluten-Free + Vegan or Whole-Grain!

Spiced Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies! Two variations - Healthy Gluten-Free + Vegan or Whole-Grain!

One reason it is important is to simply know the basics of everything that goes into your food.  Whenever possible, it’s great to be able to deconstruct your ingredients beyond grocery store convenience. 

Last year's holiday pumpkin bread

Last year's holiday pumpkin bread

Not that I have anything against convenience, mind you, but having fresh pumpkin is actually very nice to have.  And, if you like your food nutritious, also remember that baking pumpkin may save more of the nutrients than using the industrial, canned version.

Pumpkin cookies - complete with Jack-o-lantern face!

Pumpkin cookies - complete with Jack-o-lantern face!

Hey, it could happen.

Did I forget to mention that making your own pumpkin puree before putting it in your recipe gives you MAJOR BROWNIE POINTS?  Yeah.  Like, instant Hostess-of-the-Year Award right there. 

Pumpkin Butter - best 5 minutes you'll ever spend

Pumpkin Butter - best 5 minutes you'll ever spend

Or, well, you know… at least I think it’s a nice touch!  I’ll send you a plaque or something.

Homemade pumpkin pie with cheesecake tiger-stripes

Homemade pumpkin pie with cheesecake tiger-stripes

 

Anyway, now that you know how I feel about being able to make fresh pumpkin puree, I thought I’d provide you with the skills to do it, should you decide to try it.

Pumpkin Doughnut - Muffins

Pumpkin Doughnut - Muffins

If you couldn't tell... this is just the beginning of a wave of pumpkin recipes comin’ atcha, (and I’m sure not just from me,) so I figured its best you be prepared.

 

 

Chocolate Pumpkin Smoothie... Milkshake

Chocolate Pumpkin Smoothie... Milkshake

 

Homemade Pumpkin Puree

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2 Sugar Pie pumpkins, about 2-3 lbs. (Makes about 6 cups puree total.)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  That was the hard part.  Now stab each pumpkin about 3 times on each side to vent.  Be merciless.  It’ll all be over in a second… they won’t feel a thing.  Place them on their sides on a baking sheet in the center rack of the oven and set the timer for about 25 minutes.  Then, just walk away.  Go do something else, like prep a recipe, watch TV, or fold your laundry.  No big deal.  When the timer goes off, roll each pumpkin onto its other side with an oven mit… and repeat the 25 minutes of doing something else.

Take the pumpkins out of the oven and cut each in half to cool enough to handle.  When they are not too hot to touch, you can gently scoop all the seeds out of the pumpkin, and they should be pretty easy to peel the skin off of.

I always keep the seeds for roasting, by the way – they are excellent additions to granola, on cereal, in parfaits, and for topping baked goods!  Do yourself a favor.  Keep the seeds.

Finally, puree the flesh of the pumpkins in batches in a food processor.  Unless you have one of those fancy new blenders, I definitely recommend the ever-useful food processor.

When the pumpkin puree is smooth as cream throughout, it will now serve as your brilliant addition to a plethora of baked goods and entrees!  Do 2-4 pumpkins on a Saturday, and you’re set for a week or two of delicious pumpkin recipes.  Place some of it in a freezer bag, and it keeps well for months in the freezer!

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