I don’t think I have ever seen a can of store-bought pumpkin in my dad’s kitchen. I’m not sure I knew such a thing existed until recent years, because he was always cooking up whole pumpkins and stashing away its guts in the basement freezer, taking it out when the occasion arose to make the first pie I ever loved – pumpkin pie.
It’s really great to be able to make and store your own pumpkin puree because you can avoid all the shortages of canned pumpkin at the grocery. And it’s incredibly easy to make. You can really do this with any sized pumpkin so long as it fits into your oven. My dad is not convinced that the “pie” pumpkins are really any different other than their size (he has baked with both). Just be sure to keep align the rack in your oven away from the heating source to avoid burning.
Also, be warned that the puree with not be as dense and dark colored as the canned stuff. You can thicken it up a bit by following the extra step in the directions below, to drain out some of the liquid. I ended up not taking that extra step because my puree seemed thick enough to me.
HOMEMADE PUMPKIN PUREE
Yields about 1 lb puree
6 lb pumpkin, whole
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a rimmed baking sheet and set aside.
- Remove the stem, and cut pumpkin in half from top to bottom. Scoop out the guts (reserve seeds for another use) and place cut-side-down on the prepared baking sheet. Cook until fork inserts easily, about 45-50 minutes.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool before scooping the flesh from the skin. Place flesh into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
- If you would like your puree to be thicker, line a large fine mesh strainer with paper towels or cheesecloth. Transfer the pumpkin puree to the strainer and allow to drain for one hour. Once drained, transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate up to 1 week or freeze up to 3 months.
Source: My dad and Sweet Pea’s Kitchen.