This was the sight I met with yesterday morning when I strode over to the grocery store. Piles and stacks and crates full of pumpkins. A sea of orange so vast and so bright that I nearly wept with joy. I have a strong love for and obsession with pumpkin.
Every year, right around the middle of September, I get bitten by the pumpkin bug, an overwhelming need to bake anything and everything pumpkin-related. Sadly, I always have to wait a couple more weeks for them to start showing up in grocery stores. I have nothing against Libby, but there’s really nothing better than homemade pumpkin puree, so those weeks spent waiting for fresh pumpkin are some of the worst in the whole year. But then, all of a sudden, they appear, and all is right in the world again. Never leave me again, pumpkin. I am lost without you.
Pumpkin puree is one of those things where the commercial version is probably just as good as the homemade version. Libby’s is actually great – it doesn’t taste artificial in the way that other canned goods tend to do. But I prefer to make my own because preservatives make me nervous, and I just love the smell of roasted pumpkins. And also, pumpkin seeds, of course.
- 1 sugar pumpkin (also called sugar pie pumpkin or pie pumpkin – just make sure it’s not one of those enormous carving pumpkins)
- Sheet pan or baking dish
- Food processor or blender
1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Wash and cut your pumpkin in half. Scoop out the seeds and save them for roasting. Cut the pumpkins into smaller pieces if you want them to cook faster.
3. Place the pumpkin pieces, flesh side down, onto your pan or baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil.
4. Bake for 60 to 90 minutes. Test for doneness with a fork – the flesh should be soft and tender.
5. Scoop out the flesh and transfer it to your blender or food processor. Blend until it becomes pureed and is a uniform texture.
6. Store in airtight containers in fridge or freezer.
And there you have it, homemade pumpkin puree! I’m lucky to live near a grocery store that sells insanely cheap produce, so it’s much more cost effective for me to make my own puree than to buy it canned. I scored a decent-sized sugar pumpkin for $2, which made roughly 40 ounces of puree. Not too shabby.