You know what I’ve been doing this week? Welcoming in Autumn. It’s now September 24th, which means it’s officially acceptable to flood my house with pumpkins and gourds and sunflowers and cinnamon candles even if it is still over 90 degrees outside. And that I did, all the while cranking the AC and putting pots of soup and chili on the stove. I love this time of year!
One of the things I love the very most about fall is the fall food. (By the way, we’ve put some of our favorite fall dishes on our side bar and we’ll be adding lots more so keep taking a peek over there and re-discover some old favorites!) But above all, fall baking. Apples and ginger and cinnamon, and pumpkin. Lots of pumpkin. Which is why I was completely dismayed when I heard that Libby’s was having a major canned pumpkin shortage this year! Ack! I cannot survive the next 2 months without pumpkin puree, and neither will you, seeing as half of the recipes I’ll be posting involve it! So I thought a post on making your own pumpkin might come in handy. If you can’t find canned pumpkin in the stores, chances are you can find a real pumpkin. And making your own puree is actually really easy and pretty inexpensive. If you can’t find either, email me and I’ll sell you one of the cans I have for $37.99. 10% off if you’re a follower 😉
Homemade Pumpkin Puree
Sugar pumpkins. You should be able to find them in the produce section of most grocery stores right now and they’re pretty inexpensive. They’re almost too cute to eat! Almost…
Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice pumpkin in half and remove stem. You can cut it in quarters if you want, or just leave it halved. It doesn’t really matter. I cut mine in quarters so you could see the insides better.
Step 2: Using a spoon, scrape out all of the stringy stuff and the seeds. If you want to toast the seeds (shown below), make sure to save all this junk in a bowl and not the trash can! You’ll be left with just the pumpkin rind and the flesh as shown here:
Step 3: Spray a foil-lined baking sheet with non-stick spray. Place your pumpkin cut-side down on the sheet.
Also, during this step, I would recommend covering the pumpkin with another piece of foil. I’ve never done that before, but I noticed the sticker on my pumpkin advised doing so. And I figure those pumpkin people might know a little somethin’ somethin’ about roasting pumpkin. Mine sometimes turn out a bit dry and I think covering them with foil might help keep some extra moisture in. On the flip-side, depending on your pumpkin, it may be overly moist instead. See the solution to that in step 6!
Step 4: Cook pumpkin in your 350 degree oven for 50-60 minutes or until it’s tender when pierced with a fork. When done, remove from oven and let cool on the baking sheet.
Step 5: Use a spoon to scrape out the flesh and discard the skin/rind. It should be super soft and easy to scoop right out, kind of like scooping out an avocado.
Step 6: Place pumpkin pulp in a food processor and process until smooth. (Or you can just mash it with a fork or potato masher) Now. If your pumpkin is on the dry side, you can add a little water (or juice depending on what you’re making) at this point to get the consistency you want. My pumpkin was dry and I was aiming for the consistency of canned pumpkin so I slowly drizzled in about 1/4 cup of water until it had the right feel. If it’s too moist, just put your puree in a strainer to let some of the moisture seep through.
At this point you can use it in any recipe that calls for pumpkin puree or canned pumpkin. (Check out some of my faves at the end of this post!)
FYI: I used a 2-lb. pumpkin and it yielded 1 3/4 C puree. And if you are trying to gauge- One 15 oz. can equals 1 3/4 cups pumpkin puree and one 29 oz. can (the biggie) equals 3 1/2 cups pumpkin puree. So my 2lb pumpkin was almost exactly equal to one can.
I’ve never been much of a pumpkin seed-toaster, but I figure if you’re going to the effort of cooking your own pumpkin, you may as well use every last part of it! In my little 2-lb. pumpkin, I got 1/2 C seeds.
1/2 C pumpkin seeds, clean and dry
1/2 T butter
1/4 t olive oil
1/4 t celery salt
1/4 t onion powder
1/8 garlic powder
Now there seems to be a couple schools of thought on pumpkin seeds. The one that says you should boil them in salted water before roasting and the one that doesn’t bother with that step. I wanted to see what all the fuss was about so I boiled half of them and left the other half unboiled. After they were toasted I honestly couldn’t notice any difference, so I’m not going to bother with boiling. All you boilers out there, tell me why! I’d love to hear your thoughts on that.
There are also 2 schools when it comes to baking, low and slow or hot and fast. I’m going for instant gratification her,e so I’m gonna do hot and fast. By the time I got my pumpkin mess cleaned up and the seeds cleaned and ready to cook, my pumpkin was almost done cooking. So I took it out and turned the oven up to cook the seeds. However, if you wanted to, you could cook your seeds at 350 right along with your pumpkin and it would just take a little longer.
Let’s get on with it…
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Melt butter and add olive oil to it. Place seeds in a small bowl and toss with butter and seasonings (except kosher salt). Lay in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet. (You can, of course, use any seasoning mix you want–be creative!)
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Or if you totally forget about them like I did, they will be um…darkish brown… Give one a try and sprinkle on kosher salt if needed.
Hopefully you’re in the mood for Autumn now! Here’s some of my favorite pumpkin-related things. Oh, and tonight I made the yummiest treat with this homemade pumpkin! I’ll share it with ya next Friday. And don’t forget to be back here Monday when we’re gonna show you the COOLEST thing! It involves a little freebie for every last one of you, so be here!
Pumpkin Alfredo Sauce
Crumb-Topped Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bites
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
Pumpkin Ice Cream & Ice Cream Sandwiches
how long does the puree keep
how long does the puree last ???
Sara – wow, thanks for shaaring. How would you turn this into pumpkin pie filling? Or is that even possible.
do you have to use sugar pumpkin? We bought a home and the garden was already planted and has pumpkins galore, would a regular pumpkin work?
I have sprinkled cinnamon and sugar on my pumpkin seeds before. They were yummy.
I was going to cook my pumpkins like this but the other day a friend of mine told me that you can just cook the pumpkin whole in the oven. Afterwards, let it cool, peel off the skin, cut it in half and easily scoop out the seeds. Like butter, she said! 🙂 She also made sure to mention that the pumpkins did NOT explode in the oven – you don’t even have to poke holes in them. She also cooks butternut squash like this.
Love your site and every recipe I’ve tried has been great. I have been using fresh pumpkin for a few years and just the other day I ran across an alternative method to bake it. It’s easier than they other way I did it for years, as everything is cooked and soft when you’re cleaning. I loved it!
Clean the outside of the pumpkin, and break off the stem. Place it stem up on on a cookie tray or a baking sheet with raised sides.
Bake the pumpkin on a for an hour in a 350 degree oven.
Allow to cool for a few minutes to become more managable.
Slice the pumpkin open witha large knife. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and stringy guts. Scoop the flesh from the skin of the pumpkin.
You can’t use the seeds this way. I’m ok with that because a raw pumpkin is hard to clean.
I have been making my own pumpkin puree for years. I measure mine and then freeze it in individual bags. Love making pumpkin cookies in the summer.
YUMMY!! Those seeds look amazing! I love pumpkin!
I’m having my first linky party on my blog and the theme is pumpkin. I’d like to invite you to come link up your favorite pumpkin recipe. The link is open until Wednesday at midnight, so please stop by and say hi.
Glad I read all the comments cause Jessie and Kyle asked my question for me! lol Thanks for the great step by step instructions. Pumpkin Puree is going into my freezer this weekend 🙂
I go through at least 4 cans of pumpkin a week during the Fall so thank you for posting the directions on making your own, will definitely come in handy!
Jesse- pop it in the freezer! Pumpkin puree freezes great. Just put it in a zip lock bag or plastic container and it will last a few months.
How long would the Pumpkin puree last in the Fridge? I want the pumpkin seeds NOW and the puree LATER!
Sara, could you tell me the best way to store the puree and what the shelf life is? thank you very much! love your blog!
My pumpkins have been turning out very LIGHT in color, not that canned pumpkin, fall orange color (as you have pictured).
I hope it ends up looking okay when I transform the puree into a pie.
Stacia- granulated onion or onion powder. Same goes for the garlic!
Ok, so I'm confused…For the seeds, does it call for fresh minced onions, onion flakes, or onion powder?
So, I went to do this today, and had no foil, so I popped two 2 lb pumpkins, halved and cleaned, face down in a oven-roast bag (like the ones you use for turkeys) and it worked like a charm! The pumpkin literally slid off the rind after 60 minutes at 350. Easy as…pie…
Thank you for this. This was way easier to do than I expected so I think I'll plant these pumpkins in my garden next year to make it even cheaper. I also made the pumpkins but left them in about a minute or two too long and most burned :(. I'll try again when the little ones are distracting me.
Paula- thanks for posting that. It's great to know it works in the microwave!
Don't know if anyone posted this but..I cooked mine in the micro wave. Did everything the same except I put it cut up in a micro safe pan with an inch of water, cover (saran wrap) and cook about 15 min until tender. Then i used a hand held emershion blender. Worked great.
I finally made my pumpkin tonight. It was easier than I thought it would be! Thanks for laying it all out for those of us that have never done it before. Can't wait to whip up the pumpkin chocolate chip muffins tomorrow with my puree!
I toasted the seeds too but used all spice, cinnamon and then sprinkled with some sugar as soon as they came out of the oven. My kids loved them!
Thanks so much for your blog! I love it.
Pumpkin seeds are my favorite part of carving jack o lanterns! I love the idea of celery salt on them; I always add a few dashes of worstershire. I wonder what candied pumpkin seeds would be like…