Saturday, November 14, 2009

Homemade Pumpkin Puree

Pumpkin is one of my favorite food groups. I love anything pumpkin. From the standard fare of pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins and classic pumpkin pie to the more unusual pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin flan, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin lattes, pumpkin smoothies--even the savory dishes like pumpkin ravioli, pumpkin gnocchi . . . You name it. If it's pumpkin, I love it.

As a lover of all things pumpkin, I've come to master the art of making my own pumpkin puree for most of my pumpkin needs. It's actually very simple to make. Even you can become a master, and well, I suppose it's so easy, it shouldn't even be considered an art. In my experience, the most flavorful pumpkin puree I have made has come from Long Island cheese pumpkins that I've gotten in my organic co-op several times over the years. I'm pretty sure they're called cheese pumpkins because they look like a big round wheel of cheese. The cheese pumpkins have a small seed cavity and thick, dark orange flesh that produces a rich and fragrant puree. This year in the co-op, however, I got the more common, smaller pie pumpkin and was pleasantly surprised how much puree I got from such a small pumpkin. Here's how to make your own homemade pumpkin puree.

The beautiful photo of the Long Island cheese pumpkin above came from the wonderful theDailyGreen website.

Homemade Pumpkin Puree
1 pumpkin

Preheat oven to 350 F

Wash the whole pumpkin in your kitchen sink to remove any residual dirt before cutting.

Using a large, sturdy knife, carefully cut the pumpkin into wedges, saving seeds for roasting. (See my recipe for Cinnamon Toasted Pumpkin Seeds).

Place pumpkin wedges, skin side up in a shallow baking dish. Add a bit of water, maybe 1/4 cup or so, to the bottom of the dish to keep pumpkin from drying out and sticking to the bottom.

Bake for approximately 20-30 minutes or until the flesh pierces easily with a fork. Remove from oven and let cool.

Scoop pumpkin flesh from the skins.

Puree pumpkin in a food processor until very smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl if necessary.

Use in your favorite pumpkin recipe.

Store any leftover pumpkin puree in the refrigerator and use within for 1-3 days. To freeze pumpkin puree, simply spoon into freezer zip top bags, pressing out any air in the bag and place in freezer. Frozen pumpkin puree keeps for up to one year.

And if all this seems like way too much work to get some pumpkin puree for your favorite recipe . . . there's always this:

Stay tuned for my recipe for Pumpkin Chocolate Chip muffins . . .


  1. My husband loooooooves pumpkin. I just said "chocolate chip pumpkin muffins" and he said, "Mmmmmm. You gonna make some?"

  2. LOL! I'd send you some through the internet if I could. But if my recipe works out, you'll have to bake him some using my recipe.

    They're in the oven now. . .

  3. I love Pumpkin too! My husband makes a mean pumpkin pie from fresh pumpkin puree. I will see it once again at THanksgiving.


    We are having baked butternut squash this evening.

  4. I love pumpkin pie, Michelle. Such a classic.

    I can't believe I didn't mention pumpkin cheesecake in my post. Definitely a favorite. My eldest daughter and I love it. I usually only make it for Christmas when company is coming so the two of us don't eat the whole thing in one week. Yeah, yeah... I know it freezes well, but it never seems to make it there.

  5. I'm not a fan of pumpkin, but every year I make a loaf of pumpkin bread with pumpkin butter for the kids and Chris. It seems to be just enough to satisfy them, and enough to satisfy my need to make something with pumpkin for them. *G* I have to admit though, that the pumpkin cheesecake sounds delicious........ *G*

  6. Love anything and everything pumpkin. I have a great recipe (well, I like it anyway) for pumpkin bread and I'll be making some for Thanksgiving and Christmas. :) I also loooove pumpkin cheesecake. Yum!
    Looking forward to that muffin recipe, Christine.

  7. Brandy, you make pumpkin butter? Mmmm ... I like pumpkin butter on Ritz crackers. It's like instant pumpkin pie.

    Hilcia, another pumpkin lover!! Yes! Maybe I ought to post the pumpkin cheesecake recipe... although that would require me to make one so that I could post pictures. Oh the sacrifices I'm willing to make....

    But that recipe isn't my own. Unless I tweak it....

  8. I have to admit to not being a pumpkin fan, but I'm really tempted by the muffins and all your various recipe suggestions. Maybe I should go mad and try something pumpkin...although it is kind of the wrong season here unfortunately.

    Oh, and Christine - there are boysenberries on my vine! Not many, but a few :)

  9. Boysenberries? In your yard? Ooooo yummmmm!

    Tell me, do any of the berries ever make it to the kitchen or do you just end up eating them off the vine while you stand there picking them?

    What do you do with them besides eat them fresh?


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