Updated: Feb 9, 2020
Why make your own pumpkin purée? First of all, food that is properly made at home is almost always better than the store bought version. But most importantly, in the case of pumpkin purée, I started making mine when I found out that 'pure' pumpkin purée you buy from the store is most likely not pumpkins! What?
I wasn’t pleased when I found this out but interestingly, most canned pumpkin purée is actually squash of some kind. Squash is in the pumpkin family so, technically and legally, the manufacturers of pumpkin purée can call it 100% pumpkin purée even when it’s not really what we intended to buy. Manufacturers like to use squash because a less-than-average squash tastes sweeter than a less-than-average pumpkin. But when you select a good pie pumpkin and make your own puree, you get a far superior tasting purée with actual pumpkins!
You can also purée regular carving pumpkins and use them for delicious bakes like cakes, bread or pies. I’ve done it many times and it works great. I love using these pumpkins and kids love getting to eat the pumpkins after carving them! For making pumpkin pie, I think a pie pumpkin tastes better.
Pie pumpkins are denser and darker than carving pumpkins because they have a higher sugar content. When you make purée from carving pumpkins, you may have to let it drain for longer to get rid of all the excess fluid. But this shouldn’t be a deterrent if you have carving pumpkins lying around that you could use in your baking because, you also have to drain pie pumpkins to get them to the consistency of canned pumpkins. Draining pumpkin purée is important to keep your ratios correct for most published recipes. But if you don’t want to drain it, just reduce the other liquids in your recipe.
Pumpkin Puree Recipe
Bake time: 45-60 mins
A 3 pound pumpkin yields about 2 cups of puree
1. Preheat oven to 385 degrees.
2. Wash the pumpkin and cut in half. Scrape out the seeds and fibrous strings.
3. Place cut side down on a foil lined baking sheet
4. Bake for about 45-60 mins. You will know they are done when you can prick the skin easily with a fork.
5. When cooked, allow to cool out of the oven.
6. Peel the skin rind and run through the food processor until smooth.
7. Place in a net sieve and let the excess liquid strain out. I let it sit for about 1-2 hours, until it isn't draining anymore. Carving pumpkins take longer to drain than pie pumpkins.
8. Your pumpkin purée is now ready to use!