Food & Cooking Blog

Skip the Canned Stuff! Make Pumpkin Puree From Scratch

Pumpkin puree is a staple ingredient of the fall baking season. Most of us — myself included — opt for canned pumpkin for baking. It is widely available, inexpensive and the same product that we have been using for years.

DIY Pumkpin Puree

While the canned pumpkin is a reliable option for seasonal baking, you don’t need to be limited to it in your kitchen. Learn how to make pumpkin puree from scratch — it’s easy! This tutorial will show you how.

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Picking the right pumpkin

Pumpkin puree starts with fresh pumpkin — but you don’t want to use the same type that you use for carving jack-o’-lantern. They tend to be bland and stringy.

Small Pie Pumpkins

Instead, look for baking pumpkins, which are smaller, sweeter and have much smoother flesh. There are many types of baking pumpkins, and one good way to find them is to ask vendors at your local farmers market for recommendations. If you’re looking through the pumpkins at your local grocery store, look for Sugar Pumpkins (sometimes simply called “pie pumpkins”) or Cinderalla Pumpkins, both of which tend to be easy to find. 

Preparing & cooking the pumpkin

Canned pumpkin is always quite moist, and steaming a fresh pumpkin will cook it and keep it moist. Ideally, your homemade puree will have a similar texture to the canned puree.

Peeling a Pie Pumpkin

Step 1:

Once you have your pumpkins picked out, take them home and give them a good wash. Next, take our a vegetable peeler and remove the outer skin. There should be no lines or grooves on the pumpkin after peeling.

Peeling a Pie Pumpkin

Step 2:

Using a large knife, carefully cut off the top and bottom of the pumpkin. Then, cut the pumpkin in half. Since it may be slippery, I recommend holding it with a paper towel during this part. 

Pumpkin Cut in Half

Step 3:

Use a small spoon to scoop out the pulp and seeds from the interior of the pumpkin.

Scooping out the Pulp from a Pumpkin

When you use fresh pumpkin, you will see a lot more variety in the color of the finished puree than you do with canned pumpkin. This small pumpkin does not have particularly thick walls, and your pumpkin may have more flesh or a slightly different color than mine.

Step 4:

Regardless of size or color, cut the flesh into 1-inch or 1½-inch cubes.

<Chopped Up Pumpkin, Ready to Cook

Step 5:

Next, fill a large stockpot with water and place a steamer basket inside. Bring the water to a simmer, then add in the cubed pumpkin. Place a lid on the pot and steam the pumpkin for 20-25 minutes, until very tender. 

Steaming Pumpkin on the stovetop

Puréeing the pumpkin

Once the pumpkin is tender, allow it to cool completely before puréeing it. You can use a potato masher, a ricer or a food processor.

Using A Ricer to Puree Pumpkin

If you are going to make something hearty, such as pumpkin soup, a potato masher alone might be all you need.

If you are going to bake a pie, you will want to use a ricer or the food processor to ensure that your puree becomes as smooth as possible. You can press the pumpkin through a strainer before using to remove any fibers. A good pie pumpkin should have a fairly creamy flesh and should not be too fibrous.

You can store the puree in an airtight container in the fridge for one or two days, until you are ready to use it. Your pumpkin baked goods will have a more unique — but still very pumpkin-y — flavor, and you’ll be able to brag to your friends and family that you prepared the pumpkin yourself!

FREE PDF Guide: DIY Pantry Staples

I Can’t Believe It’s Not Store-Bought: 6 DIY Pantry Staples

Trying to eat fewer processed foods? Stock your pantry with homemade essentials like butter, confectioners’ sugar and more, with this FREE downloadable guide. Get My FREE Guide »

One Comment

Cherie De Coto

I like getting new recipes all the time. And try to make it. I hope to get some new recipe from you. Thank you for letting me sign up with you.

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