I often take for granted some of the things that seem like basic knowledge to me with clean eating. Things I automatically assume that everyone knows. But eventually, people start asking questions here and there and it slowly dawns on me that what is basic knowledge for me, may not be for others. Such was the case with making pumpkin puree from a fresh pumpkin.
This is pumpkin season. They are everywhere in the stores, and yet many people will buy a can of pumpkin puree instead of a pumpkin simply because they don’t know what to do with a fresh pumpkin.
That’s not to say there is anything particularly wrong with the canned variety (barring BPA issues, of course). But buying a can should be a matter of convenience, not due to lack of knowledge.
So here are instructions for making pumpkin puree from a fresh pumpkin.
HOW TO MAKE PUMPKIN PUREE
- Cut the pumpkin in half.
- Scrape out the seeds with a spoon. Note that some people will bake the pumpkin with the seeds in because they feel it is easier to scrape out the seeds after the pumpkin is cooked. However, I feel like I lose too much of the flesh that way. So I scrape it first. Either way will work.
- Place the pumpkin halves, cut side down, in a large casserole dish large enough to fit the pumpkin, or on a cookie sheet with sides.
- Add 1/2 inch of water to the pan or dish.
- Bake at 350 F. for about 40-50 minutes, or until you can easily stick a knife through the skin and flesh with little to no resistance.
- Remove the squash from the oven and set to cool. Do not leave the pumpkin out for longer than 1 hour. Squash left at room temperature for too long can grow pathogens easily. So cool it enough that you can touch it. If that takes longer than an hour, use pot holders to transfer the pumpkin to a dish or plate and set it in the fridge on the bottom shelf to finish cooling.
- Once the pumpkin is touchable, scrape the flesh out of the skin and put it in a bowl (for an immersion blender) or into a regular counter top blender.
- Blend the pumpkin until smooth.
- Bag it up for the freezer in single serving sizes and defrost in the fridge as needed.
- Fresh pumpkin does not keep a long time once it’s been cooked. So freeze it within a day or two at most to keep it in top condition.
- Keep in mind that the longer you freeze pumpkin, the more watery it will be once you defrost it. If you want to use it in pies and such, do not freeze it longer than about 4 weeks. After than, it tends to get pretty watery. That being said, it’s possible to cook the water off a bit over the lowest setting on your stove top. You just have to watch it carefully so it doesn’t burn.