How to make pumpkin purée at home to replace canned pumpkin. All you need is a sweet pumpkin and an oven to make it yourself! Homemade tastes so much better and it's a great way to use seasonal winter squash.
Use yours to make pumpkin mousse (made without gelatine!), seasonal favourite pumpkin custard pie, or go for a savoury option with gluten-free pumpkin biscuits. You can use it in any recipe that calls for canned, mashed, or pureed pumpkin.
What Type of Pumpkin to Use
A pie pumpkin, like sugar pie, is going to be ideal in terms of flavour and consistency to replace canned pumpkin. That being said, just about any type of pumpkin can be used, and you can follow this same method to make puree from winter squashes like butternut squash.
How to Make Pumpkin Puree
Step 1: carefully halve your pumpkin.
Step 2: scoop out the seeds and stringy bits.
Step 3: place the two halves cut-side down on a lined baking sheet.
Step 4: roast until the skin of the pumpkin can be easily pierced with a fork, then scoop out the flesh.
Step 5: transfer to a blender, food processor, or use an immersion blender.
Step 6: mix until completely smooth and use or store for later.
- Use a baking sheet with higher sides: some pumpkin and winter squash types will let out a lot of liquid while they're cooking, and that can drip off a flat sheet and burn in the bottom of the oven. Make sure there's at least a bit of a lip there, or use something like a casserole dish instead.
- Don't use gourds: if you're not sure what's what, use this as a guide: if the skin is too hard to cut easily with a sharp knife, it's probably a gourd rather than a pumpkin grown for eating.
- Keep it away from the top of the oven: if you're using a conventional oven with top and bottom heat, make sure the pumpkins aren't too close to the top, because they'll burn quickly. Place the sheet right in the middle or even a little closer to the bottom.
You can scoop out the seeds after roasting, too, but you'll often lose more of the flesh that way. If it's too hard to remove them before baking, remove any unwanted bits after the pumpkin is cooked instead.
The seeds can be kept and used for roasting if you'd like. Soak them for about an hour, then dry well and refrigerate for a day or two until you're ready to roast them.
How to Store
Storage: store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to a week.
Freezing: transfer the cooled blended pumpkin to an airtight container and freeze for up to six months. If you want smaller amounts, use something like reusable muffin liners to freeze until solid, then transfer to a container to freeze. That way you can take out pieces of puree to thaw and use as needed, rather than a whole batch.
Can you eat carving pumpkins?
The pumpkins sold for carving are edible, but they don't usually have the best flavour and texture. You'd be better off decorating with pumpkins meant for eating, and then keeping them for cooking once you don't want them out any longer.
Is canned pumpkin and pumpkin puree the same thing?
Homemade pumpkin puree and canned pumpkin are the same thing, and can be used the same way in recipes. Just don't mix it up with pumpkin pie filling, which is sweetened and has added spices.
What is pumpkin puree?
Pumpkin puree is simply cooked pumpkin that's been blended or mashed. Most people use sugar pie pumpkins to make it, but almost any winter squash will do.
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Homemade Pumpkin Puree
- baking sheet with higher sides
- sharp knife
- 1 pie pumpkin sometimes called sugar pumpkin
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. This makes it much easier to lift the pumpkin after cooking, as the sugars can cause sticking.
- Carefully halve the pumpkin lengthwise and place it, cut-side down, onto the baking sheet.1 pie pumpkin
- Roast the pumpkin for about 40 minutes, or until the skin can be easily pierced with a fork in the thickest part of the pumpkin.
- Let it cool on the baking sheet for at least 10 minutes before carefully turning the halves over (this will make them cool faster).
- Once the pumpkin is completely cool, scoop out the flesh with a spoon and transfer it to a blender. Blend until very smooth.
- Pumpkin puree can be stored in the fridge for about a week and freezes well.