How to Cook Pumpkin – ever wondered how to cook a fresh pumpkin and make your own homemade pumpkin puree? It’s easy!
What Is Pumpkin Puree?
Homemade Pumpkin Puree is quite simply, cooked and mashed or blended pumpkin. Most pumpkin desserts start with a can of pumpkin puree which is none other than cooked mashed pumpkin (not to be confused with pumpkin pie mix which is sweetened and spiced). The first thing you’ll notice is how beautiful the color is, more of a bright yellow than a deep rusty orange color (like a canned puree) and the flavor is wonderful.
What Type Of Pumpkin Should I Use?
When choosing your pumpkin, look for a small brightly colored pumpkin that is deep orange with little green or blemishes. Be sure to choose a variety intended for cooking such as sugar pumpkins for the best flavor and texture. NOTE: A 5-pound pumpkin should give you about 2 cups of puree.
Is a Pumpkin a fruit or vegetable? What’s your guess? While we often think of pumpkin as a veggie, it is actually a fruit!
How to Cook Pumpkin
Pumpkin can be either baked or boiled but baking does produce the most flavor and the best puree for all of your recipes, sweet or savory!
When baking pumpkin, I add a little bit of olive oil and then season depending on the recipe I plan to use it in. If you are making a dessert like Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies, season it with a pinch of salt and some cinnamon. If you’re using it in a savory recipe like Pumpkin Soup or chili, you can use salt and pepper.
How to Make Pumpkin Puree
Pumpkin puree is really just mashed pumpkin. When roasted it has a lovely flavor, and you won’t have much water to squeeze out either, so I highly recommend baked pumpkin for both ease and taste.
- Wash and cut pumpkin in half.
- Remove all pith and seeds and cut into cubes.
- Bake until tender when pierced (see recipe below).
For those who prefer to boil pumpkins, there are instructions included below. When boiled, homemade pumpkin puree naturally has more water than it’s canned counterpart so I strongly suggest allowing it to drain in a colander lined with cheesecloth for a bit to remove some of the liquid before using.
How To Store It
It’s simple to store. Cooked pumpkin will last in the fridge for up to a week.
Can you freeze it? Absolutely, scoop the cooled puree into freezer bags, leaving two inches for expansion. It should keep in a deep freezer for up to one year.
Pumpkin puree is so versatile, with amazing flavor and nutritional benefits. You’ll want to keep on hand as a pantry staple for sure!
What To Do With Pumpkin Puree
We love baking it into pumpkin pie (or try a praline version for an extra crunch). Stir it into soups and stews for a delicious and healthy thickener or base! Or enjoy it in a fluffy pumpkin dip. Yum!
When autumn is in the air and the leaves are falling off the trees, I can hardly resist a homemade pumpkin spice latte or slice of pumpkin bread. There are just so many wonderful things to do with pumpkin puree!
Homemade Pumpkin Puree
- 1 sugar pumpkin
- 1 tablespoon olive oil if baking
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Wash pumpkin and cut in half. Remove seeds and pith.
Peel, cut into chunks, and toss with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt. (*see note)
Place on a baking tray, and bake 35-40 minutes or until tender when pierced.
Allow to cool. Pumpkin can be served cubed or pureed.
- Wash pumpkin and cut in half. Remove seeds and pith.
- Peel and cut into chunks. Place in a large pot and fill with water.
Boil until pumpkin is soft (about 20 minutes). Drain very well.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)