In the days following Halloween, I can’t wait to process my pumpkins so that I can have a steady supply of pumpkin puree for the next few months. Pumpkin puree is so easy to make. I know the canned stuff isn’t that bad either, but anytime I can use up something I already have and know everything that’s gone into what I’m making – I’m all for that!
This is so easy to make. The biggest thing is it requires a bit of a time commitment. I spent yesterday afternoon working through my Halloween pumpkins but I’m set now with 26 cups of pumpkin puree in 3 cup portions frozen and ready for my next meal or baking endeavour.
Many recipes will say that you can’t (or shouldn’t) use the pumpkins you use for Halloween. Sugar pumpkins are ideal – they are sweeter. But jack-o-latern pumpkins work just as well! Honest! The trick with these pumpkins is to know that they have a higher water content (that’s how they grow bigger) and process accordingly.
Homemade Pumpkin Puree
1 pumpkin (sugar or other kind)
Cinnamon (if desired)
Honey (if desired)
Wipe clean the outside of your pumpkin. Clean out the inside (save the seeds!!).
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Chop up the pumpkin into chunks and assemble in a large oven safe pan. I used a roasting pan.
Sprinkle with cinnamon and drizzle with honey (if desired). I did. I like a little caramelization on my pumpkin. Bake for 45 minutes (or until fork tender) – this will depend on how big or small you cut your pumpkin pieces in to.
Remove from the oven and let rest until cool to the touch.
Once cool, the skins should peel off easily (I used a knife to help encourage this part of the process).
Puree in a blender or food processor. If you are using a blender, you may have to add a few tablespoons of water.
If you have used a Halloween pumpkin, you will likely have to remove some of the excess water from your puree (you can see it surface as it sits). I placed a couple sheets of cheese cloth over a strainer and poured in some of my pumpkin puree. Then I close up the cheese cloth so it’s tight and wring out any excess water. You’d be surprised how much excess water comes out and how much firmer it will make your puree by doing this little step!
To store, dole out the desired quantity into freezer safe bags and mark accordingly.
I will be sharing a few of my favourite pumpkin recipes over the coming week but with good pumpkin puree I’d practically just eat it off a spoon it’s so good!!
Oh… and don’t forget to roast those pumpkin seeds!
What do you do with your Halloween pumpkins?