Pumpkin puree, or winter squash puree, is an autumn and winter staple. To reduce waste, make it at home yourself with this easy method – this is also great if you live somewhere that doesn’t sell canned pumpkin puree, like I do!
If you’re also trying to cut down on cans and other single-use containers, it is a bit more work, but well worth it. This puree also freezes really well so you can make it in advance and store for later if you have freezer space.
While any number of winter squash types can be used here, the most common are sugar-pie pumpkin in America, butternut squash, and Hokkaido. These all work very well and don’t have a terribly high water content, so they’re great for baking and subbing 1:1 for canned puree.
What You’ll Need
- Pumpkin: any type of pumpkin or winter squash can be used (please note, pattypans are not winter squash). Some will contain more water than others.
- Sharp Knife: all pumpkins are tricky to cut. Sharpen your knife beforehand if possible.
- Baking Dish: you can use a baking sheet here, but a deeper dish is helpful as some winter squash varieties contain quite a lot of water. With a sheet, sometimes that can spill over and burn in the oven.
Step by Step
1. Bake: halve the pumpkin and bake cut side down in a deep-sided dish until fork soft, about 40 minutes.
2. Remove seeds: carefully scoop out the seeds with a spoon, avoiding removing too much of the flesh.
3. Cool: this isn’t mandatory before blending, depending on the blender, but it is safer.
4. Puree: mix with an immersion blender or other type of blender until very smooth.
Use an immersion blender or regular standing blender, it doesn’t matter. I don’t find a food processor to be as effective in making a silky smooth puree, but it’ll work in a pinch.
Don’t throw out those seeds! Save them and make roasted pumpkin seeds instead. Or, if you have a particularly nice pumpkin, remove some seeds before roasting and dry them to plant next spring.
How to Store
Storage: pumpkin puree will last about a week in a sealed container in the refrigerator. Of course it can also be canned, but I wouldn’t recommend it unless you have a pressure canner.
Freezing: freeze for up to six months in an airtight container. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before using. For smaller amounts, spoon the puree into large ice cube trays or silicon muffin liners. Freeze until solid, then remove the frozen puree and store in containers that are freezer safe. This is great for if you like to add some pumpkin to things like mashed potatoes, to use in smoothies, or for baking.
- Leave the seeds: scooping the seeds after roasting is a bit easier and safer than removing them from a raw pumpkin. Leaving them in also helps prevent the pumpkins from collapsing in the middle when cooking.
- Use a baking dish: really, you won’t regret it – baking sheets aren’t deep enough and there’s a good chance liquid will spill off and burn in the bottom of the oven.
- Use winter squash: there is some confusion about the term, but this post is specifically for squash that can be cured and stored at room temperature over winter. This is anything you’d think of as a pumpkin, but not zucchini.
Recipes with Pumpkin Puree
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How to Make Pumpkin Puree
- 1 pumpkin halved lengthwise
- Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). If using a baking sheet, line with parchment paper. Otherwise, set aside a deeper baking dish.
- Place the halved pumpkin cut-side down into the baking dish.1 pumpkin
- Bake on the centre rack for about 40 minutes for a medium-sized pumpkin, or until the skin can be easily pierced with a fork.
- Remove from the oven and cool for a few minutes before carefully flipping the halves over.
- Use a spoon to remove the seeds and stringy parts, saving for roasting or composting.
- Scoop out the flesh and place into a blending container or heat-safe blender (alternatively, cool fully before blending).
- Mix, with an immersion blender or standing blender, until very smooth and silky.
- Cool fully before freezing or storing in the refrigerator. Pumpkin puree will keep for about a week in the refrigerator and about six months in the freezer.