How to Make Pumpkin Puree (Or Any Winter Squash Puree)
Fall is about Pumpkin This, Pumpkin That, making pumpkin puree seasonal ingredient number one. For a long time I bought pumpkin puree in cans, for the same reason everyone else does: simplicity.
But having spent a few years living in a place where there is no canned pumpkin to be found, I’ve gotten used to making my own. That has also gotten me to think about something: if we are going to put energy into baking pies and whatever else we want to put pumpkin into, we can at least put in the little bit of extra effort to make homemade pumpkin puree.
Turns out, it’s not hard to do at all, and really doesn’t require more energy than cutting a pumpkin, roasting it, and throwing it in the food processor. And once you’re finished, the color is stunning. No can of pumpkin puree ever looked this good.
Don’t have pumpkins? Make this puree with any winter squash. You can even mix and match. So chop up whatever winter squash or pumpkin varietals you have on hand and get to pureeing them.
Since I make my puree in the food processor, and buy organic pumpkins/winter squash, I leave the skin on. In the food processor it will all puree down to a smooth mixture, and there’s no need to send perfectly good pumpkin to the compost pile. So leave that skin be. You’ll save yourself an extra step too.
Pumpkin/Winter Squash Puree
Any pumpkin or winter squash
Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
Wash off your pumpkin. This is particularly important if you recently snagged your pumpkin from the farm and it’s still a little muddy.
Cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds. Put those aside for roasting later.
Cut the pumpkin into quarters, then cut each quarter into a few medium-sized pieces.
Place the pieces on a baking sheet. I like to add a little water to the baking sheet (just enough to cover the bottom) which keeps the pumpkin from sticking while it bakes.
Bake the pumpkin for 40 to 45 minutes, until the pumpkin is tender. Stick a fork in the largest piece to double check how soft it is.
Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let cool for a few minutes. Transfer the pumpkin pieces to a food processor and puree until smooth. Depending on how much pumpkin you have baked, and how large your food processor is, you may need to do this in two rounds.
Once you’ve got puree, place it in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator. The puree will store for a few days in the refrigerator. If you want to keep the puree longer than that, store in the freezer. For simplicity, you may want to consider storing it in small batches (for example: one cup portions) to make it easy to defrost the right amount next time you want to use some.