When I first started using fresh pumpkin in my kitchen I wanted to find the easiest way to do it. A friend told me I should just cook the pumpkin whole in the oven. I liked the sound of not having to cut the pumpkin in half while it was raw, so I gave it a shot. It’s so nice to have smart friends. 🙂 This is a super easy way to cook pumpkin!
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Clean your pumpkin so that it is free from dirt. The pumpkin I had available was pretty large. The smaller pie pumpkin is sweeter and tends to be less fibrous, but I have used both successfully to make homemade pumpkin puree.
Cut slices around the pumpkin with a knife. I usually make anywhere from 8-12 slits about an inch long. I got a little carried away on my first one.
Place your pumpkin on a cookie sheet or in a baking dish. Which you probably will want to do after you clean the pumpkin, but I apparently wasn’t thinking clearly on this day.
You have been warned.
I always put water in the bottom of the dish that I am using. After 5 years of doing it this way, I have no valid explanation for this step. It just felt like the right thing to do when I first started. I’m sorry if you were looking for expert advice. And no, we don’t offer refunds.
Place your pumpkin in the oven to cook. Cooking time varies depending on the pumpkin’s size, but for a large pumpkin like this it usually takes 1 1/2 – 2 hours. You want to cook the pumpkin until you can easily stick a fork in it.
Once your pumpkin has fully cooked, let it cool for about 20-30 minutes. After it has cooled a bit, cut the pumpkin in half. Or you could cut the pumpkin in half before you let it cool. Whichever floats your boat.
Use a spoon – or an ice cream scoop if you have no clean spoons like me – to scrape out the pumpkin guts, also known as fibrous strands and seeds to you cultured folk. Then cut off the rind.
And don’t throw out those seeds! You can roast them for a yummy snack or save the seeds to plant next year.
Cut the meat of the pumpkin into slices and place a few of them into a blender or food processor to puree. I don’t have a food processor, so this is being made in a blender. When using a blender, you may have to add just a bit of water in order for it to process fully. I like to use some of the liquid released when I initially cut the cooked pumpkin for this.
Mmmmm, smooth pumpkin puree. This was set aside for pumpkin curry soup.
I freeze the majority of my pumpkin puree in 1 cup and 2 cup portions since that is what I use in most of my pumpkin baking. I know that if I freeze larger portions then I may not use it all when it’s thawed no matter how good my intentions.
You may find that your pumpkin puree has too much water content. You can strain the pumpkin in cheese cloth for a few hours before you freeze it. You may also find that you need to strain out excess water after it has thawed.
Pumpkin is so nutritious for us and I love using homemade pumpkin puree in my cooking. So I want to know, have you made your own pumpkin puree? What are your favorite pumpkin recipes?