In my garden this summer, I grew one pumpkin plant and one butternut squash plant. Since harvest, I’ve been giving out complimentary butternut squash to everyone who comes to visit. We had all of the kids that live on our road (there are sixteen kids from five families) over to carve pumpkins. And we still had squash and pumpkins leftover. So, what did I do? Made homemade pumpkin puree.
Pumpkin puree is nice to have around come Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the random Tuesdays I feel like making a pumpkin pie, or bread, or subbing it for the squash in beef and butternut squash soup.
Side note: If you aren’t familiar with that recipe, it’s a good way to introduce you and your family to the wonderful world of savory pumpkin dishes. There are thousands of ways to use pumpkins for cooking that aren’t desserts. Since pumpkin is rich in vitamins and minerals, it’s also a great way to sneak in import ones like Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Potassium and more.
All this to say, pumpkin puree is handy to have around. It’s even handier if it’s “free” because you were going to have those pumpkins around as decor regardless. It’s a great way to use up fall pumpkin decor (not including jack-o-lanterns because that’s a food safety hazard). And it also paves the way for another tasty treat – roasted pumpkin seeds. So, there’s that.
Don’t forget the rules of food safety! Here is the short list:
- Always wash your hands before and after handling raw meat.
- Never thaw meat on the counter. Thaw in the refrigerator, microwave, or cool water bath.
- Always wash cutting boards and plates after having been in contact with raw meat.
- Always cook to appropriate internal temperatures. Safe internal temperatures vary based on cut. Hamburger must reach a safe and savory 160 degrees, while steak is safe at 145 degrees.
A great way to use up fall decor and get a pumpkin pie out of the deal!
Whole pumpkin, or pumpkins
Olive oil or cooking spray
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Carefully, cut your pumpkins in half and remove all the pumpkin guts and seeds. Then assess your situation to determine the number of baking sheets you’ll need for the pumpkin halves at hand.
Grab the appropriate number of baking sheets and brush them with olive oil or coat with cooking spray. Put your pumpkin halves cut side down on the baking sheet and pop them in the oven for 40 minutes or until they’re soft and smooshy.
Take the baking sheets out of the oven. Let the pumpkin cool so you don’t burn your hands. Once the pumpkin is cool, scrape all the meat out into your blender, food processor, or a large bowl if you’re using an immersion blender. Blend it up, adding water as necessary to get that smooth pureed consistency.
Bag your newly made puree up in freezer safe bags or containers and freeze for pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, or soup at a later date. Enjoy!
When you’re ready to use your frozen puree, just pop it in the microwave for a few minutes (3-5 ish) on the defrost setting, or thaw it out in a cold water bath.