Last year, I hit the jackpot on homemade pumpkin puree. There was a fall festival at my children’s school in October, and one of the activities was decorating sugar pumpkins. Kids were invited to paint or put Halloween stickers on their pumpkins. The children enjoyed the activity, but many of them left their pumpkins behind when they went home that evening. These orphaned pumpkins decorated the school lobby for a few weeks, but as November progressed, it was time for the pumpkins to go. Once I learned how to make pumpkin puree, I had the perfect home for them:
Rather than wait for the custodian to throw them in the dumpster, I gathered at least a dozen pumpkins from the school lobby and loaded them into my car. Over the next few days, I scrubbed the paint off, removed the stickers, and roasted those sweet little gourds. The result was so much pumpkin puree in my freezer that it lasted me all year. I just used the last container a few weeks ago, and I’m hoping to stock up again this year.
How to Make Pumpkin Puree
Learning how to make pumpkin puree is simple. The key is to roast them long enough to allow for a smooth puree.
How to Make Pumpkin Puree
- 2 or more medium sugar pumpkins
Make sure you’re using sugar pumpkins. These are the medium sized pumpkins that range from about 1 to 5 pounds. These aren’t the tiny ridged pumpkins or the big carving pumpkins.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Chop the top off the pumpkin and cut it in half.
Scoop out the loose, stringy membrane with the seeds attached. Place this in a small container and store it until you’re ready to make roasted pumpkin seeds.
Grease a baking sheet with olive oil and place the pumpkin halves cut side down on the sheet.
Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until a fork can be easily pierced in the pumpkin. My little 1 1/2 pound pumpkin took 35 minutes, and the 3 pound one took about 40 minutes.
Let the pumpkins cool, and carefully turn them over on the baking sheet. Scoop the flesh out of the skin.
Puree the pumpkin in a food processor or blender until very smooth. Refrigerate for several days or freeze in 2-cup portions for future use.
Now that you know how to make pumpkin puree, here are some pumpkin goodies you can make with this puree:
Pumpkin Puree Price Breakdown
One pound of pumpkin yields about a cup of pumpkin puree. My local grocery store sells sugar pumpkins for $.79 per pound, or $1.58 for two cups of puree. The same store sells canned pumpkin for $1.79 for a 15 ounce can (about 2 cups). But in reality, I don’t buy sugar pumpkins to make pie. I buy them as decorations, and then when we’re done with Halloween season I turn them into puree. It’s a little bit of work, but learning how to make pumpkin puree is a great way to keep the flavors of fall coming through your oven all year long.