Whether you live in Europe (like me) and it is almost impossible to buy canned pumpkin puree, or if you would like to make fresh pumpkin puree from scratch this recipe (and video) is for you! Soon you will also have a delicious batch of this pumpkin puree recipe in the fridge ready for your favorite fall recipes.
Since I am not able to buy canned pumpkin puree here in Europe, I thought for the longest time that I shouldn’t even bother to make my own pumpkin puree from scratch. It just takes too much time, right?
Well, I was wrong! It’s the easiest recipe ever and ever since pumpkin puree is a delicious addition to my kitchen.
I promise that all your favorite pumpkin recipes will taste so much better with fresh homemade pumpkin puree, all made from scratch.
What is pumpkin puree?
A lot of pumpkin recipes will call for (canned) pumpkin puree. Pumpkin puree is nothing more than a blend of cooked winter squashes.
The puree is the cooked and mashed flesh of a squash, such as the summer squash and yellow squash. But the more known are the winter varieties like acorn squash, butternut squash, and of course the orange pumpkin you probably know.
There is only one type of squash you will not find or use in a pumpkin puree and that is the standard field pumpkin. Those are commonly used for making Halloween decorations such as lanterns. While these are totally edible, they aren’t particularly good for eating no matter how it’s cooked or pureed.
I love to use the orange Hokkaido pumpkin for this recipe.
What is store-bought canned pumpkin puree?
It’s pretty hard to get your hands on canned pumpkin puree, here in Europe. And I understand why; it’s so easy to make yourself! Pumpkin puree is mostly available in the U.S. and it can be labeled as (100%) pure pumpkin, solid pack pumpkin, or only pumpkin. Whatever the name, pumpkin puree shouldn’t contain any sort of seasonings or sugar. It should be just cooked and mashed squash. Depending on the recipe, you can add seasonings or sweeteners.
What can I use pumpkin puree for?
Pumpkin puree can be used for so many fall recipes. Think of breads, muffins, pies, pancakes, vegan mac and cheese sauce, cakes, soups, and so much more.
What is pumpkin pie filling?
Pumpkin puree is not the same as pumpkin pie filling. If a recipe calls for pumpkin pie filling it means the puree is a mixture of cooked, mashed winter squash that is flavored with sweeteners and spices, such as cinnamon, cloves, and ginger. Cooking with plain pumpkin puree allows you to adjust the spices and sweeteners to your liking.
Pumpkin pie filling is often used as a shortcut to make a pumpkin pie.
Regardless, what you make (pumpkin puree or pumpkin pie filling), I believe the taste is much better than the canned one.
How long can you keep pumpkin puree?
I highly recommend making a bigger batch of pumpkin puree.
It will keep for a week in the refrigerator and you can keep it for months in the freezer. Freezing might change the texture a bit though, so keep that in mind.
Homemade pumpkin puree
You can hardly call this a recipe, since it’s so simple to make. You will only need two ingredients (if you are using salt). Otherwise, a small pumpkin is all you need.
If you are unsure which pumpkin to use, look for small baking pumpkins, such as sugar pumpkins, bake pumpkins, pie pumpkins or Hokkaido pumpkins. The larger Halloween-like pumpkins are not really suitable for pumpkin puree, so I wouldn’t use those.
There is no need to peel the pumpkin or cut into small pieces. I give it a good rinse, and then cut the pumpkin in half. After that you’ll need to roast the pumpkin in the oven for about 45-50 minutes. The house will soon start to smell amazing!
Cutting a pumpkin
It’s pretty straightforward, especially when using a small pumpkin. Nevertheless, take your time when cutting the pumpkin in half.
Place a heavy knife into the top near the stem and then push the knife down to the bottom. You don’t have to do this in one move. Make small downwards movements while cutting and rotate the pumpkin while doing so. Try to keep your fingers not too close to the knife. If your knife gets stuck in the pumpkin, wiggle it a few times and continue again, through the bottom. You can skip the stem, it is too tough to cut.
Once you reach the bottom, pull the two halves apart. This will allow you to pull the stem away.
Finally, scoop out all the pumpkin seeds and any stringy flesh.
Don’t throw away the pumpkin seeds. You can clean the seeds, season and roast for a delicious snack.
On a lined baking sheet, place the halves (cut side down) in the oven and roast until the flesh is soft and the skin blistered. The flesh should be soft enough to be pulled away from the skin.
When the pumpkin halves are soft, scoop out the flesh in a bowl and blend with an immersion blender. You can of course also use a food processor and mix until you have a smooth puree.
With the above instructions, you can make a variety of winter squashes puree.
This recipe is the easiest recipe to make pumpkin puree from scratch ( I’m not even using a food processor). Your kitchen will smell amazing, the taste is so much better than the canned version, and you can keep it for later for all your favorite pumpkin recipes.
- 2 small baking pumpkins, about 4 pounds each
- optional: (Celtic) sea salt
Preheat the oven to 200 °C / 400 °F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Rinse and dry the pumpkin dry. Cut the pumpkin from stem to end, and don’t try to cut through the stem, since it’s too tough to cut.
Wiggle a heavy knife to cut through the pumpkin. Then pull each part away. Take your time when cutting the pumpkin. You will probably not be able to cut the pumpkin to the bottom in once.
When the knife gets stuck, wiggle it and remove it, then continue. Do all this while rotating the pumpkin. When you have cut through both sides of the pumpkin, you can pull the halves apart. You should be able to easily separate the stem.
Scoop out the seeds and most of the stringy bits. Then place the halves cut-side-down onto the lined baking sheet.
Roast in the oven until the pumpkin can easily be pierced with a knife and the flesh is soft enough to pull away from the skin. This should take about 45 to 50 minutes at 200 °C / 400 °F.
Let the pumpkin cool. Then scoop the soft flesh out of the halves into a bowl. Use an immersion blender to puree the soft flesh until very smooth.
You could also use a food processor. Place the soft flesh in the food processor and process until very smooth. If you are making a big batch of pumpkin puree, you might need to puree the soft flesh in several batches.
You can keep pumpkin puree in a glass container in the fridge for about 1 week or in the freezer for 3 months.
Keywords: pumpkin, pumpkin puree, fall, autumn,
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