Pumpkin purée is a staple of fall baking and the key to many delicious pumpkin treats. While opting for the canned variety can speed up your baking process, making your own purée from an actual pumpkin can further boost that pumpkin flavor and give you leftover seeds to roast. Here’s how to DIY the stuff from scratch; then it’s time to start baking!
Good to Know: Pumpkin purée starts with fresh pumpkin, but you don’t want to use the same type used for carving jack-o’-lanterns — they tend to be bland and stringy. Instead, look for baking pumpkins, which are smaller, sweeter and have much smoother flesh. They’re easy to find at your local grocery store or farmer’s market.
Homemade Pumpkin Purée
What You Need
Wash your pumpkin, then use a vegetable peeler to remove the outer skin. There should be no lines or grooves on the pumpkin after peeling.
Using a large knife, carefully cut off the top and bottom of the pumpkin. Then cut the pumpkin in half.
Pro Tip: Your pumpkin may be slippery, so hold it with a paper towel as you cut.
3. Scoop Out the Seeds
Use a small spoon to scoop out the pulp and seeds from the interior of the pumpkin.
Good to Know: When you use fresh pumpkin, you will see a lot more variety in the purée color than you do with canned pumpkin. Our small pumpkin doesn’t have particularly thick walls, but yours may have more flesh or a slightly different color.
Cut the flesh into 1″ or 1½” cubes.
Fill a large stockpot with water and place a steamer basket inside. Bring the water to a simmer and add the cubed pumpkin. Place a lid on the pot and steam the pumpkin for 20-25 minutes, until very tender. Allow the pumpkin pieces to cool completely before moving on.
To purée the pumpkin, you can use a potato masher, ricer or food processor depending on how you’re planning to use the ingredient.
If you are going to make something hearty, such as pumpkin soup , a potato masher alone may be all you need. If you’re going to use the purée in a pumpkin pie , you’ll want to use a ricer or the food processor to get the pumpkin as smooth as possible. You’ll also need to press the pumpkin through a strainer before using to remove any fibers — a good pumpkin pie should have creamy flesh and not be too fibrous.
Store the purée in an airtight container in the fridge for one or two days, until you are ready to use it.