Have you ever made your own fresh pumpkin purée? It’s easier than you might think and, in my opinion, so much better than canned from the store!
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You’ll need to get the pie pumpkins, sometimes called sugar pumpkins. They are much smaller than the typical Jack-O-Lantern size. You can usually find them at the Farmers Market or you can do what I did and pick them up at your local grocery store. My store had them 3 for $5.00 so I bought 6. 🙂
First, cut the pumpkin in half close to them stem. Don’t try to cut through the stem, it’s too tough. Once it’s cut in half, you can slice off the stem.
Using your hands, pull out the seeds and as much of the “stringy” stuff as you can. If you want to make Roasted Pumpkin Seeds, put the seeds in a bowl of water to help get most of the pulp off. Then spread the seeds out on a baking sheet lined with paper towels to dry. I have another post planned to show you how I roasted my pumpkin seeds. I’ll try to get it out tomorrow. 🙂
Then, using a spoon, scrape out as much of the leftover “stringy” stuff as you can. It doesn’t have to be perfect.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and put your pumpkin halves cut side down on the baking sheet.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Bake your pumpkins 35-45 minutes until you can easily punch through the skin with a fork and the pumpkin flesh is soft.
Here’s what they look like when finished baking.
Let cool for a while until you can handle the pumpkin. You should then be able to easily scrape the pumpkin flesh from the skin. Put the flesh in a food processor and process on high until it is smooth. Don’t have a food processor? You can also process it in a blender.
I put 2 cups of pumpkin purée into each quart size freezer bag. Have you seen these bag holders for holding open freezer or storage bags for easy filling? They are a game changer! They are adjustable to handle different size bags and make the job so much easier! Here’s a tip for filling the bags…Fold over the top of the bag before placing in the bag holder – it will keep the zipper part from getting messy. 🙂
I flattened my bags, getting out as much air as I could, before putting them in the freezer. They will take up less space that way and will thaw out more quickly when you are ready to use your pumpkin purée.
I was able to get 14 cups of purée out of my 6 pumpkins. You can probably figure on about 2 cups of purée per pumpkin, which is what you will need for most pie recipes. You can use fresh pumpkin purée in any pie, bread, or muffin recipe – just substitute the same amount of fresh pumpkin purée in place of the canned pumpkin in any recipe you are making.
I’ve included our favorite Pumpkin Bread recipe below. This makes a lot of bread – 3 to 4 loaves depending on the size of your loaf pans. This bread freezers very well. Wrap it in foil and then slip it into a freezer bag. Make some early, put it in the freezer, and you’ll be ready for the holidays!
- 5 cups flour
- 4 cups sugar
- 4 cups pumpkin purée
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup chopped nuts (we like pecans)
- 1 cup raisins or chopped dates (we like raisins)
- 4 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray loaf pans generously with nonstick spray.
Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. (I do this in my 5-quart Kitchen Aid mixer.) Pour into prepared pans.
Bake for 1 hour or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans for 15 to 20 minutes. Then remove from pans and finish cooling on cooling racks.