The pumpkin patches are full of activity this time of the year.  School field trips are scheduled, grandparents are eager to take the grandchildren to local farms, and pumpkins are the centerpiece of most fall decorations.

The last of our pie pumpkins from this year's crop. Soon to be Pumpkin Pie!
The last of our pie pumpkins from this year’s crop. Soon to be Pumpkin Pie!

We have finally picked the last two pumpkins in our little patch at the front entrance of the farm, although, we aren’t quite ready to use them yet.  You see, our plans for these two pie pumpkins are to use them to make pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving. And since that is several weeks away, it is time to turn our pumpkins into puree and freeze it for later use.

We often get the question – can I use my decorative pumpkins to make pumpkin puree and the answer is simple – yes. However, the texture and taste will be different than if you use a pie pumpkin. The smaller pie pumpkins are generally sweeter in nature and have a slightly less water content.

There are several ways to puree your pumpkin, and every way is ‘right’.  Just pick a way that meets your cooking style and end up with the perfect pumpkin puree from your pumpkins and not from a can. Use fresh pumpkin as a direct substitute for canned pumpkin.

Find a couple of our favorite pumpkin recipes here:  The Great Pumpkin Roll Recipe; Homemade Pumpkin Cookies

 Three Ways to Make Your Own Pumpkin Puree

Scoop out the strings and seeds --save the seeds for roasting later.
Scoop out the strings and seeds –save the seeds for roasting later.

Instructions:

  1. Clean the pumpkin under cool water and dry well with a clean towel.
  2. Cut the pumpkin in half. Remove the seeds and stringy fibers with a metal spoon or ice cream scoop. Save the seeds for toasting and discard the innards.

**Now pick a way that you want to ‘cook’ your pumpkin…….

Roast pumpkin quarters face down for easy peeling of the rind
Roast pumpkin quarters face down for easy peeling of the rind

Bake:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Cut your pumpkin into 4 quarters. Place each quarter cut side down, on a baking sheet/jelly roll pan.
  3. Bake in the oven until the flesh is tender when pierced with a knife. This takes approximately 45-60 minutes for a pie pumpkin. Larger pumpkins may take up to 90 minutes.
Boiling a small pie pumpkin
Boiling a small pie pumpkin

Boil:

  1. Bring a large pot of lightly water to a boil.
  2. Cut the pumpkin into evenly-sized smaller pieces.
  3. Add to the boiling water and keep at a light boil for about 20 minutes or until the flesh is tender when pierced with a knife.
Pumpkin quarters in the double boiler steamer ready to be cooked down
Pumpkin quarters in the double boiler steamer ready to be cooked down

Steam:

  1. Use a double boiler and fill bottom pot with enough water, but not enough to touch the strainer.
  2. Cut the pumpkin into evenly sized smaller pieces to fit inside the top strainer.
  3. Cover and let steam for about 20 minutes or until the flesh is tender when pierced with a knife.
Peel back the rind of the pumpkin after it cools.
Peel back the rind of the pumpkin after it cools.
Place the pumpkin into the food processor, blender or use an emersion blender to puree
Place the pumpkin into the food processor, blender or use an immersion  blender to puree
Freeze in air tight containers for easy use throughout the year.
Freeze in air tight containers for easy use throughout the year.

For any method, follow the below instructions to finalize your puree:

  1. When tender, remove pumpkin pieces and place on a flat surface to cool.
  2. Once cool enough to handle, but not cold, peel the skin layer and scoop out the pumpkin flesh.
  3. Puree the pumpkin in a food processor, in a food mill, with a hand held blender until smooth.
  4. Fresh pumpkin holds a lot of moisture. Before using or storing, line a sieve or fine mesh colander with cheese cloth or a coffee filter and set over a deep bowl. Let drain for about 2 hours and stir occasionally.

You can freeze the puree in an air tight container or a freezer bag, which will be good for up to one year. Canning pumpkin is not recommended by the USDA.

Enjoy!

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Mary and Jim

3 Ways To Make Your Own Pumpkin Puree

Ingredients

  • Pie Pumpkin

Instructions

  1. Clean the pumpkin under cool water and dry well with a clean towel.
  2. Cut the pumpkin in half. Remove the seeds and stringy fibers with a metal spoon or ice cream scoop. Save the seeds for toasting and discard the innards.
  3. **Now pick a way that you want to ‘cook’ your pumpkin…….

Bake

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Cut your pumpkin into 4 quarters. Place each quarter cut side down, on a baking sheet/jelly roll pan.
  3. Bake in the oven until the flesh is tender when pierced with a knife. This takes approximately 45-60 minutes for a pie pumpkin. Larger pumpkins may take up to 90 minutes.

Boil

  1. Bring a large pot of lightly water to a boil.
  2. Cut the pumpkin into evenly sized smaller pieces.
  3. Add to the boiling water and keep at a light boil for about 20 minutes or until the flesh is tender when pierced with a knife

Steam

  1. Use a double boiler and fill bottom pot with enough water, but not enough to touch the strainer.
  2. Cut the pumpkin into evenly sized smaller pieces to fit inside the top strainer.
  3. Cover and let steam for about 20 minutes or until the flesh is tender when pierced with a knife.

For any method, follow the below instructions to finalize your puree

  1. When tender, remove pumpkin pieces and place on a flat surface to cool.
  2. Once cool enough to handle, but not cold, peel the skin layer and scoop out the pumpkin flesh.
  3. Puree the pumpkin in a food processor, in a food mill, with a hand-held blender until smooth.
  4. Fresh pumpkin holds a lot of moisture. Before using or storing, line a sieve or fine mesh colander with cheese cloth or a coffee filter and set over a deep bowl. Let drain for about 2 hours and stir occasionally.

Recipe Notes

Recipe courtesy of Old World Garden Farms

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