There are pumpkins and then there are pie pumpkins. Today, I’m sharing a recipe for easy homemade pumpkin puree, perfect for all of those fall recipes you’re planning to make. ?
What? There’s a Pie Pumpkin?
Yes, here in my little part of Northwest Ohio, we are practically drowning in pumpkins. Matt and I have thought about having our own little pumpkin patch. However, we’re surrounded by family farms who already have them and can’t sell all of theirs. If there’s one thing to know about me, it’s that I hate to waste anything. I had a cardboard box full of green tomatoes to ripen for my simple and delicious tomato salsa. I would cry to have to throw out lots of pumpkins nobody wanted to buy. However, I did plant a few pie pumpkin seeds this year and I’m happy to say they were ready to take off the vine and whip up into this easy homemade pumpkin puree.
Pie pumpkins are a different kind of breed than the jack ‘o lantern pumpkins you carve. Here are the main differences:
- Pie pumpkins are much smaller
- The skin on pie pumpkins is much thinner so they’re easy to cook
- Due to the above, you won’t have as much pumpkin mess on your hands with pie pumpkins
Here’s a little side by side photo of a pie pumpkin next to a regular pumpkin you would carve.
Depending on where you live, you may easily be able to find pie pumpkins. We’re blessed to have a local grocery store nearby that buys them from local farmers. They have a giant bin full of pie pumpkins right now. I just pulled mine out of the garden, but if I didn’t grow them myself, that’s where I would be buying them.
Why Not Just Buy Pumpkin Puree?
Hey, I am not going to judge. I’ve purchased many a can of pumpkin puree in the past and I like it just fine. It’s typically pure without anything extra added to it. However, some canned pumpkin brands are a mix of squash so check the label! If you buy canned pumpkin, also make sure you don’t buy the pumpkin pie mix by mistake.
This year, I really want to try my hand at lots of from-scratch pumpkin recipes, so why not use those little pumpkins I have? Plus, I’m just one of those people that like to learn how to do things, and learning how to make pumpkin puree the old-fashioned way is right up my alley.
How to Make Homemade Pumpkin Puree
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- Wash your pie pumpkin.
- Place the pumpkin in an oven heated to 350 degrees for 45 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the pumpkin size. Yes, the entire thing including the stem!
- After 1 hour, try poking a hole in the skin. If your knife slides in without a lot of resistance, it’s done. Mine were! If it’s still pretty tough, keep baking it, checking it periodically. They’ll have a golden brown tone, like they tanned in the sun for too long.
- Once you can easily puncture the skin, remove the baking sheet with the pumpkins on it and let it cool. They’ll deflate a bit too.
- Remove the top like you would a jack o’ lantern and scoop out the seeds, saving them to dry and bake as a snack later, if desired.
- Chop your pumpkin into chunks and unpeel the rind. Mine came off easily without a peeler.
- Discard the rind and toss your pumpkin chunks into a food processor or blender. An immersion blender would also be perfect for this task.
- Blend away!
- The puree is done at this point. Eat it within a week or put it in freezer bags for future use.
Delicious Uses for Pumpkin Puree
- Overnight Oatmeal
Fresh pumpkin is chock full of vitamin A and a slew of other healthy minerals that promote healthy skin and eyes, boost immunity, and promote sleep. I could use all of those benefits! You’ll also notice that the coloring is more of a yellow-orange than the definite orange color of canned pumpkin. Look for an e-booklet of pumpkin recipes I’ll be putting together soon. In the meantime, I hope you pick up a pie pumpkin and give making your own puree a shot. Let me know how it goes if you do!