Yes, I still am missing the pumpkin spice latte that I enjoyed at least once a week last year. So on a mission to add more pumpkin to my life I decided to quit the carving and paint our pumpkins this year. It may have helped that I had my favorite little nieces over for a visit and figured washable paint would be easier than gutting 2 extra pumpkins. That was a good decision by the way, even though they had paint all over the place! (Please note how adorable my nieces and sons are below!) It’s the second week of November and all of our pumpkins held strong long enough to be washed off and hacked up into puree. The more I dive into making things home made the more I realize how simple it is. I used to think homemade cooking meant a lot of work and I always told myself I didn’t like it. Turns out I do. Turns out there is a sort of joy that comes from throwing that baked pumpkin into the processor and seeing it come out prettier than the canned stuff!
Preheat the oven to 355° if you have time to let them bake for about an hour. If not you can set the temp at 400° and cook them till they are easy to poke with a fork, approximately 30 minutes.
I am all about simple, the less ingredients the better. Thankfully all you need for this pumpkin puree is pumpkin. Did you know that a lot of store bought pumpkin puree is actually squash? What a rip off right?!? Any who, the best pumpkin for this puree is a sugar pumpkin. The bigger pumpkin I used was from my garden and honestly, I couldn’t tell you whether it was the jack-o-lantern or different pumpkin because I didn’t mark which plant was which. Because I wanted to see the difference in pumpkins I pureed my store bought pie pumpkins and my homegrown one separately then put them together. The homegrown pumpkin was likely the jack-o-lantern due to the fact that it had more of a watery consistency. If I was to make this out of pumpkins other than the sugar pumpkins I would probably put them into a cheese cloth and let them drain some of the water off. Just a thought.
I’m hoping to find a good recipe for some pumpkin seeds because I tend to burn them. Or they just taste terrible… It’s a learning process and thankfully the seeds came with the pumpkins so I didn’t have to go out of my way to find them. Oh and don’t worry, James’ chickens are enjoying the rest of the guts that I’m not using for the puree.
I placed mine on a foil lined sheet because I loathe cleaning my cookie sheets. You could use parchment paper if that’s what you prefer too.
As you can see by the picture, it was a learning process. The first batch cooked for 55 minutes and probably could have came out earlier. The second batch cooked for an hour and 15 minutes. The size of the pumpkin is going to determine how long you cook them.
As you can see the smaller pumpkins got a little on the dark side BUT no worries, I scraped of the dark (cough, burnt, cough) spots and it worked out just fine. I’ve never claimed to be Betty Crocker, but I’m learning and next time I make these bad boys, I’ll do better! You’re welcome for testing this out so that I can be the guinea pig and you can have these tips ahead of time! 😉
Some people leave the pumpkin on the pan and peel the skin off, I used a spoon and scooped it out and put it in the processor. I crushed it till it was baby food consistency.
I’m sure there are recipes out there that allow you to can your pumpkin puree but for time sake, I chose to freeze mine. Because it has no sugar or other ingredients in it, that’s the safe route anyway. I put mine into ice trays and froze it so I could easily pop some out of the bag and add it to my oatmeal, my smoothies or even my No Latte Pumpkin Hotte! In the past I’ve wanted to make a single serving of some sort of tasty pumpkin treat and have had to figure out what to do with the rest of the can. It’s easy to get burnt out on pumpkin that way. Next time I might freeze it in pumpkin pie specific measurements in Ziploc freezer bags too.
I of course had to try the puree out right away and I hate to toot my own horn but YUM!