Making your own pumpkin puree is easy and rewarding with the right tools. Autumn is when pumpkins make their appearance in stores as Jack-O-Lanterns which are not generally intended for consumption. You can eat any pumpkin just as you would any other squash, but carving pumpkins are stringy, watery and lack flavor, so save these for your holiday decorations. Pie pumpkins or sugar pumpkins as they are also called, are small in size, have smooth textured skin, and flavorful dense flesh. They can be roasted whole, steamed, or cut into smaller chunks and added to soups and curries. The puree can be used of course for pumpkin pie, and it makes excellent muffins, bread, cakes, and soup stock. A long shelf life means you can keep pumpkins for months at a cool room temperature.
Don’t forget the seeds. Roasted pumpkin seeds are fun to make and a nutritious snack. The larger the pumpkin, generally, the more the seeds, so perhaps that Jack-O-Lantern can be more than a pretty (or scary) face! However if you’re preparing several small pie pumpkins for the freezer, seeds will be plenty.
Here we make Pumpkin Puree. There are 2 basic methods. Both start with washing the pumpkin and cutting it into manageable sizes, then either boiling until soft or roasting. We prefer roasting as that produces a deeper flavor. How many pumpkins you need depends entirely on if you’re roasting enough for a single pie, or freezing for a year. For this guide we used the 4 pumpkins pictured that weighed 17 pounds unprocessed. The result was 8.5 pounds of processed puree, or 9, 15 oz (2 cup) containers for the freezer. This is a manageable amount to roast on two oven racks if quantity is your goal. With this in mind, one 4 pound pie pumpkin should yield enough puree for 2 pies