Just say No to Pumpkin Puree from a can
Okay, that might sound just a wee dramatic. I am completely supportive of using canned pumpkin since it is so handy but now that I know how easy it is to make homemade pumpkin puree, I may be a little less likely to reach for the can.
Plus, these cute little pie pumpkins or "sugar" pumpkins are basically calling my name from across the aisle at the grocery store.
So what is a pie pumpkin? They are called many things, including baking pumpkins and winter squashes, but they are smaller, sweeter, and less grainy than carving pumpkins (like you use for a Jack-o-lantern) and they belong to the winter squash family; that's the same family as butternut and acorn squash.
One of the pros of making your own puree is that you've got seeds for roasting later. Plus this is such an easy "recipe" if you can even call it that.
Maybe if canned puree came with a pack of seeds I'd be more excited about buying it. There is nothing better than roasted, seasoned seeds for a fall snack; or if you are feeling a little extra fancy you could try making some Pumpkin Seed Brittle.
How easy is it to make homemade pumpkin puree? If I can do it then it must be easy peasy. Just lop the tops off, cut in quarters, and get your hands dirty removing the seeds and strings. Using a spoon helps but it will still get messy! This can be fun to do with the kids.
Now it is time for roasting. Arrange the pumpkin pieces, skin side up, on a sheet pan. The roasting will make the pumpkin flesh nice and soft and allow you to simply pull the skin off in one piece. It also helps to bring out the real flavor from the pumpkin. Some people like to coat the pumpkin in oil or dust it with a bit of kosher salt but it really isn't required so it is up to you.
You want the pumpkin to look like the picture above and it should be fork-tender. Let it cool until it is easy to work with and you can peel off the skin. Then just throw it in the blender (or food processor if you prefer). In a pinch, it should also be tender enough to use a potato masher but you will get a workout. In my Vitamix Pro 750, I like to use the puree preset which makes this step simple.
Now all you have to figure out is what amazing things you are going to make with your newly made puree. The list is almost endless. You could make maple pumpkin puree which is a great ice cream topper or maple ice cream...or you could try a Pumpkin Iced Latte that is so much better than anything you can get from a coffee shop. I'm about to try to make some pumpkin apple cider. Fingers crossed - the worst-case scenario is that my house is about to smell A-maz-ing!
[clickToTweet tweet="You may never open another can of pumpkin puree again." quote="You may never open another can of pumpkin puree again."]
Store your fresh pumpkin puree in the fridge or you can freeze it and enjoy it for months to come.