DIY Pumpkin Puree the Easy Way

DIY Pumpkin Puree the Easy Way

My first experience with DIY pumpkin puree was probably inspired by Martha Stewart.  As a teenager, I used to watch Martha Stewart’s TV show with my mom when I was on summer break and then again during the winter holiday.  I think this may have been when I started getting interested in where my food actually came from.  The thought of using pumpkin for something other than carving it into a Jack-O-Lantern was really appealing, but I didn’t have a clue where to find a pie pumpkin.  The only pumpkins in the grocery store were the carving kind.

Fast forward to my early twenties: I was still intrigued by all things food related.  I had decided to be a vegetarian and wanted to find farm fresh vegetables.  I started going to the Cherry Creek Farmer’s Market on a semi-regular basis, where I first found edamame (they come in pods on a stick – this was absolutely marvelous and exotic to me), various varieties of kale and chard, freshly made pasta, and, once fall rolled around, pie pumpkins.  I dutifully dusted off my Martha Stewart Cookbook, wrestled the pumpkin open, pulled out the seeds, and roasted it.  Note that this was the mid-nineties and my access to cooking related resources was actual cookbooks (I had a huge collection, including one book that had all sorts of pumpkin recipes in it – it was something of a revelation that pumpkin had uses other than Thanksgiving pie). 

I kept on roasting pie pumpkins and other winter squash, like butternut squash, by dutifully cutting them open, pulling out the seeds and roasting.  I had other encounters with winter squash, including discovering the ubiquitous local pumpkin when I lived in the Marshall Islands.  Local pumpkin was really Kabocha squash, which I didn’t realize until I’d moved back to the US and joined a CSA.  Local pumpkin, or Kabocha squash makes the most heavenly curry, but I digress. 

All of this is to say that one day, in the not too distant past, after I had wrestled a pie pumpkin open to roast, I was browsing Pinterest and came across a recipe that has, frankly, changed my life.  Ok – not changed my life so much, but definitely made an emergency room visit from trying to cut a very tough winter squash in half much less likely.  Here’s the secret – when you need to roast a pumpkin or another winter squash to make a puree, just bake it like you would a baked potato.

That’s it – just put the squash in whole.  I’ve done this for years without incident, but if you are worried about the risk of pumpkin explosion in the oven, you can make a few stabs at the squash like you would a potato.  Bake it at 350 degrees until it’s easy to pierce with a knife.  Let it cool (it’s steamy and hot, so risky to open it too soon and not get a steam burn).  Cut it open, scoop out the seeds, scoop out the flesh and either puree it in a blender or mash it up with your hands or a potato masher. 


I usually roast two pie pumpkins a season.  I freeze it in quart freezer bags in 1 cup serving sizes.  I can generally get around 6 cups of pumpkin from two small pie pumpkins. 


If you are looking for a way to use up your pumpkin puree, check back in tomorrow when I will post a Pumpkin Pie Spice Biscotti that will rock your fall.  Enjoy!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *