It's easy and not too expensive to open up a can of pumpkin puree. But it's a lot more fun to make your own, and more satisfying too! And if you grew your own pumpkins, like my parents did, then it's even cheaper.
Here, my sister Janelle and I demonstrate how to make puree from a fresh pumpkin. Any hands you see in these pictures are hers, because I was taking the pictures. But don't worry, I helped too.
First, of course, you need a pumpkin. We used a medium-sized pumpkin and it gave us about 8 cups of puree. So pick yourself a nice pumpkin, and be sure to clean it off really well. You don't want dirt in your puree. Pictured pumpkin has not yet been cleaned.
Cut the pumpkin in half and scrape out the seeds and pulp. If you want to roast the pumpkin seeds, Pioneer Woman has a great tutorial on that. We found that the hardest part of this whole pumpkin experience was cutting that thing open - it's really hard! So use a big sturdy knife and a lot of effort.
After you've scraped out the pulp, cut the pumpkin into chunks. Janelle and I found that it was easier to cut if you start from the skin, as opposed to the inside pulp. Get through the tough stuff first.
Here's all our chunks, each one about 3 inches across.
Boil one inch of water, add the pumpkin chunks, return to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes until the pumpkin is tender. We used two pots of water so we could fit all the chunks in. It doesn't have to be all in one layer, or even all immersed in the water.
While the pumpkin is cooking, now is a good time to work on the crust if you're making a pies. We were, so we did.
Once the pumpkin is tender, drain and cool the pumpkin chunks.
We found that it cooled faster when we put all the chunks in a single layer.
Remove the skin from the pumpkin.
Place all the pumpkin chunks in a flat pan and mash them with a potato masher! That's the fun part.
Then get as much moisture out as possible. We lined a colander with paper towels, plopped in the puree, and pressed more paper towels on top.
Then just measure your puree. It's ready to be used!
There, wasn't that simple? It really is fun to do up your own pumpkin. Then when you make a pie or anything else with it, you can really say you made it from scratch!
Coming up: pumpkin pies, mini pumpkin pies, pumpkin custard, and microwave chocolate pumpkin cake!