Do you have a desire to make homemade pumpkin puree but don’t know where to start?
Make homemade pumpkin puree to freeze or can for fresh pumpkin treats all season long. When I think of being self sufficient, I always think about what I’m already using and making. And how can I grow that or preserve this?
And pumpkin is one of those amazing pieces of produce that I’ve enjoyed making into a puree to use in many different yummy recipes.
I’m not going to tell you it’s easy. Because making pumpkin puree is messy business. And it’s time consuming but the time is completely worth it.
Making homemade pumpkin puree is also a family affair. My little girls help me clean out the pumpkins. And my husband Matt loves to run the food processor. The time it takes to make homemade pumpkin puree can turn into a fun and memorable experience the whole family will always remember.
So, are you ready to learn how to make homemade pumpkin puree?
First of all, let’s go over what you will need to make homemade pumpkin puree from homegrown pumpkins.
What You Need to Make Homemade Pumpkin Puree
Here are the supplies I use to make awesome and user friendly pumpkin puree:
- Fresh Pumpkins
- Baking Sheets
- Sharp Knife
- Large Spoons
- Baking Sheet Covers
- An Oven or a way to cook Pumpkins
- Food Processor or Baby Bullet
- Cheese cloth
- Room in the refrigerator
- Oven Mitts
And I guarantee you will use every single one of these supplies when making puree. It seems like a lot of stuff but it’s really not that hard to make homemade pumpkin puree. Here’s a step by step guide of how to make it.
The First Step is Cutting It
First of all, choose good quality pie pumpkins. You can use regular carving pumpkins, too. Just be prepared to work harder at preserving them. Because they are big, stringy and the skin is harder to remove.
So, small to medium pie pumpkins are just the ticket.
Next, use a sharp knife to remove the stem and cut the pumpkin in half. This will reveal the inside of the pumpkin. Now, take the large spoons and extra bowls. Let the kids help scoop out the insides. They’ll love being a part of the process.
Letting the Kids Help Make Homemade Pumpkin Puree
If you choose to let kids help clean out the pumpkins, you may want to have them doing it outside. Otherwise you’ll have a mess in the kitchen. If you have to stay inside, just put down some newspaper on the floor you can just throw away for easy clean up.
Have the kids use their hands to completely clean the inside of the pumpkins. Seeds and all. Then, you can put them to work separating the seeds to roast later.
Don’t forget to tell the kids “Great Job” for the hard and messy work of cleaning the pumpkin. The worst part of the job is done. Now, it’s time to bake the pumpkins.
Baking the Pumpkins
First of all, line the baking sheets for easy clean up later. The sheet paper will also help keep the pumpkins from sticking to the pan and ruining your baking sheet. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and set the pumpkins face down on top of the paper.
Then, put the baking sheets into the oven and bake for one hour. Don’t forget to set a timer if you’re going to be multitasking while the pumpkins bake. Trust me!
As the pumpkins are baking, the skin is breaking away from the meat of the pumpkin. This will allow for easy release when you pull them out of the oven and prepare them to puree in the food processor.
Make Homemade Pumpkin Puree
After the pumpkins are finished baking, the skin must be removed. Careful! They are HOT! Let them cool a little bit so you don’t burn yourself. Safety first, always.
Then, remove the skins and place the pumpkin part into the food processor to puree. I like my pumpkin puree to be as smooth as butter. And sometimes my food processor is not enough. So, I put the chunky puree into my baby bullet for finer processing.
And when the puree is of the consistency to my liking, it’s time to drain it. And drain it a long time. There’s so much moisture in pumpkin that I prefer to drain my pumpkin puree at least overnight. I just set it in the strainer lined with cheese cloth and leave it to drain out as much loose liquid as possible. Don’t worry – the puree will NOT be too dry.
Every once in a while, you can gently squeeze or press more liquid out of the puree when you check it. And you’ll know what the right consistency will be. You definitely don’t want it to be too moist.
It will be just right for recipes. Especially for pumpkin pie.
Freezing & Canning Homemade Pumpkin Puree
To store the puree, just put it into an air tight container and keep it in the refrigerator.
And if you don’t want to use it right away, you can freeze it. Since most recipes call for 1 cup of pumpkin puree, I usually measure out two cups to place into freezer bags. Make sure to moosh out all the air before you seal up the freezer bag.
Label the bags PUMPKIN PUREE with a permanent marker so that you remember what was in it.
You can also pressure can your homemade pumpkin puree in jars. Follow the instructions for pressure canning pumpkin in the Ball Blue book. When I didn’t have a pressure canner yet, I froze all my pumpkin puree. And since I prefer not to waste a thing, my animals get whatever I don’t use in the process of making homemade pumpkin puree.
Discarding of the Skins and Non-Seeds
My pigs love the pumpkin discards. My daughter brings the bowls of extra out to them and she is their new best friend. They inhale the pumpkin! It is all gone in no time.
You can also give pumpkin puree to goats to act as a natural dewormer. The trick is getting them to eat the pumpkin. My goats think they have better things to eat and they snub the pumpkin skins.
Shame. Because pumpkin is a very healthy option to make in any dessert, snack or meal.
Pumpkin is HEALTHY!
There’s a lot of health benefits to pumpkin. This is why pumpkin is one of my favorite pieces of produce to cook with. It makes some delicious things but it is also very nutritious.
Here are some of the key pieces of nutritional benefits of pumpkin:
- Low Calories – 50 Calories in 1 Cup!!
- Vitamin A – 245 % of your daily value
- Vitamin C – 20% of your daily value
- Fat – ZERO!!
- Iron – 8% of your daily value
- Calcium – 5% of your daily value
So, as you can see, pumpkin is a pretty safe option when it comes to cooking fresh. And this is why I grow it, make the puree and use it in recipes.
How to Use the Homemade Pumpkin Puree
There’s many ways to use pumpkin puree. Just substitute your homemade version in place of the store bought version in any of your favorite recipes. Here are a few pumpkin recipes I love:
Pumpkins are fairly easy to grow. They are a warm season crop but the trick is to plant them later than normal warm season crops. I’ve made this mistake before.
One spring, I planted my pumpkins with the rest of my squash. And I got pumpkins ready in July. Well, who wants pumpkins in July? They are a Halloween crop, right?
So, to get October pumpkins, plant the seeds in July. Plant them into hills about 1/2 inch deep. Make sure there’s plenty of water available for them to germinate. You’ll also have to watch out for squash bugs that may want to eat your young pumpkin plants. Sevin Dust or Neem Oil can both work great for taking care of squash bugs.
Chickens will take care of the squash bugs, but you’ll have to be careful the chickens don’t eat your pumpkin plants, too. Bees will pollinate your pumpkin plants and produce gorgeous big blooms for you to know when your pumpkins are preparing to form baby pumpkins.
Baby pumpkins are green at first. I think they look like watermelons. They continue to grow until they eventually will start to turn orange. And you know when they are completely orange, they are ready to pick.
Buy Local Pie Pumpkins
Even if you can’t grow your own pumpkin in your own garden, there’s a ton of options for finding fresh pie pumpkins to purchase. Your local pumpkin farms should still have some pie pumpkins available late into the season.
Also, stores with garden and produce centers will have late season pie pumpkins available at discounted prices. One locally owned produce place had their late season pie pumpkins available at 75 cents each!
So, it is doable to find pie pumpkins to make into pumpkin puree even if you can’t grow your own. And although it may seem like a lot of work, I’ve listed several benefits to learning to make homemade pumpkin puree.
Why Make Homemade Pumpkin Puree?
Because homemade pumpkin puree is a fun option to going to the store to buy canned. It’s fun to grow pumpkins in the garden. And it’s exciting to see my plants producing pumpkins.
It’s fun to get my kids involved in the kitchen helping me to preserve the pumpkin. They are learning that their pumpkin pie does not come from a can, but from a real pumpkin. It’s fun to watch them eating the seeds and studying the anatomy of the pumpkins on the inside.
But I think the real reason I love making pumpkin puree is the real taste of something delicious I made with my own hands. Sure, it takes a lot of time and energy to do this. But, it’s something that means a lot to me to accomplish in my quest to becoming self sufficient.
Especially when it comes to some of my favorite seasonal healthy treats.
What Is Your FAVORITE Pumpkin Treat?