November 19, 2014

How to Make Pumpkin Puree & Save Money

Oct19

Last week, I shared on my Balancing Beauty and Bedlam Facebook page about my love of all things fall, including my yummy and oh, so easy, Pumpkin Bar Recipe.

A few statuses later, after I got everyone excited about quadrupling my Pumpkin Bar recipe, I mourned the high cost of pumpkin.

Carrie emailed me and sweetly offered to share her guest post on homemade pumpkin puree. Now, while I will still stockpile canned pumpkin as soon as I find a good sale, I am thrilled to make my own. Thanks Carrie for sharing.

Sometimes in our desire to balance beauty and the budget, we have to be creative and make do with what we have. This is a prime example of that.

How to Make Homemade Pumpkin Puree

I had a huge list of pumpkin themed recipes I wanted to try. Pumpkin Spice Lattes, Pumpkin Scones, Pumpkin Oatmeal Bars, Pumpkin Cream Cheese….and the list kept growing. Everything was going great…the kids were behaving, I was sticking to my grocery list, we were going to make it out of the store in record time. Until the moment of crisis came….NO CANNED PUMPKIN! It was nowhere to be found…not even pumpkin pie filling was on the shelves. I couldn’t believe it! I thought, and thought, gave the princess more cheerios to entertain her, took the boys to the LEGO aisle to gander at the toys they wish they had….and thought some more. Finally, I came to the conclusion that it was time to take matters into my own hands-I’d simply puree pumpkin myself.

I left the grocery with two pumpkin pie pumpkins and one large pumpkin. I was determined to figure out how to do this, and therefore enjoy a cool fall weekend filled with pumpkin tasting treats.

I did some Google research, and watched some YouTube on pureeing pumpkins. Yep, I thought I could do it. So, I got out my cutting board, food processor, baking sheets, and super sharp knife and went to work.

To Puree A Pumpkin:

1. Choose a few small pumpkin pie pumpkins. If I do this again, I will buy several small pumpkins instead of one larger and two small. Simply handling and cutting the big one was a challenge.

2. Cut the stem off and set it aside. Then, cut your pumpkin in half down the middle, just like you would a honeydew melon.

3. Scrape the seeds and strings out and set them aside to roast later. My kids LOVE roasted pumpkin seeds and would scoff at the idea of throwing them in the trash.

4. Slice the pumpkin into a few smaller wedges.

5. Lay them skin side or flesh side down on a baking sheet. I laid them however they would fit, and they turned out fine every time.

6. Roast them in the oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Mine took a little longer, just make sure they’re fork tender.

7. Remove the baking sheets and transfer the wedges to a plate or cutting board. I did this for two reasons-they could cool off a bit, and I could arrange more pumpkin pieces on the sheet and put it right back in the oven.

8. After they’ve cooled a little, gently slice the skin off the pumpkin wedges. It should come off easily. BE CAREFUL! I found that when you pulled the skin back, it was very hot underneath.

9. Put your skins in the trash and the soft pumpkin in the food processor. I suppose you could use a blender, too.

10. Process your pumpkin until it is smooth. I added about 2-3 tablespoons of water to thin it out a little because it was VERY thick.

11. Repeat this entire process until you’re out of pumpkin.

 

**I stored my pumpkin in 2 cup increments in quart size freezer bags. I also made one ice cube tray’s worth of it. I just spooned it in the ice cube tray, and froze it. That way, I can pull out a few to make lattes. For a latte, you only need about 2 Tablespoons of pumpkin.

I know it’s an 11 step process, but really it was very simple. I can’t tell a difference in taste between the pumpkin pie pumpkins and the larger pumpkin I bought. I would simply buy smaller pumpkins for handling sake and ease of cutting.

Carrie from My Favorite Finds: I am a child of God, pastor’s wife, and mommy to 8 year old twin boys and a 2 year old princess girl. I love being in the kitchen, organizing, scrapbooking, and thrifting….and sharing my ideas on my blog.


Comments

  1. Hi, Jen. Thanks for letting me guest post for you today. It looks great! I’m humbled and excited at the same time. I hope your readers gain something from it.

    Apparently, our local Aldi had canned pumpkin for 99 cents this past week. I’ll still puree my own, but if anyone is looking for inexpensive pumpkin, Aldi might be it.

    The link to my blog isn’t working, just fyi.

    Thanks again!

    [Reply]

    Jen Reply:

    @Carrie @ My Favorite Finds, Oops, so glad you told me. It’s all fixed. Yes, I posted about Aldi’s on my facebook page, but it’s so hit or miss with that price. This is a great way to have an option. :)

    Thanks again.

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  2. Wow! I will be pureeing some pumpkin, I think. I stocked up on several cans at Aldi recently, but how great would it be to have some fresh pumpkin in the freezer for later when it’s so hard to find again. Thanks, Carrie! Thanks, Jen!

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    Carrie @ My Favorite Finds Reply:

    @jenny, You’re welcome, Jenny. I also like having it in the freezer for throughout the winter.

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  3. I always have pureed pumpkin that I have made in my freezer! We don’t hollow out our pumpkins, if we put them out and decorate, we paint them. I also dry and toast the seeds, so that we have snacks and seeds for granola. It is so much cheaper to do them yourself, and the kids still have fun getting pumpkins from the patch!

    Thanks for the great recipes for all my frozen pumpkin! :)

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  4. My pumpkin always turns out watery, I wish it was as thick as yours! If it does seem watery, just drain in a colander lined with cheesecloth.

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    Carrie @ My Favorite Finds Reply:

    @karen, I wonder if it’s the type of pumpkins you’re using. The smaller, pumpkin pie pumpkins have a thicker inside. I actually had to add a little water because mine was really thick.

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  5. Jennifer Taylor says:

    I did a similar process last year with cushaw. The difference is, I put the sections in a large pot of boiling water until tender. It’s great to have on hand for breads & muffins all year round.

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  6. This is EXACTLY the post I needed to see!!! We make tons of pumpkin recipes, too, and my kids and I were just talking about trying to make our own pumpkin puree. Thanks so much!!!

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  7. I used to do this all the time, years ago. I got lazy, or out of the habit. I am inspired to do it again! I wonder what the yield is on a small pie pumpkin…. it seems like it would be at least a few cans worth, making it an economical option. Thank you! Blessings!!

    [Reply]

    Carrie @ My Favorite Finds Reply:

    @Terri, I think it’s slightly more than 2 cups on a small pie pumpkin. I’m going to do it again next week sometime, and this time I”m only using small pumpkins. For this post, I had three small and one big, and I got a little more than 10 cups.

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  8. You can also do this in a crockpot. I used my crockpot last week, but instead of cutting my pumpkin up I put peeled and cut up a couple of granny smith apples and some pears and put them in the hollowed out pumpkin along with brown sugar, cinammon, walnuts, and just a scant amount of granulated sugar. The filling was fabulous on the pork roast that I cooked in my crock pot and then, after the pumpkin cooled, I mashed and froze the pulp for later use.

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  9. I’ve been making pumpkin puree for a long, long time. Some types of pumpkin have more water… pie pumpkins are the best for this! For a change, try butternut squash puree in place of the pumpkin (cook it the same way, until it’s tender, then puree in food processor or blender). Butternut squash is naturally sweeter, so you can cut down on sugar in your recipe.

    [Reply]

    Jen Reply:

    I recently heard this about the squash. Since I do not enjoy cooked squash, I never thought of substituting, but I am definitely going to give this a try. There are so many recipes that I love with pumpkin and this would be a great alternative.

    [Reply]

    Carrie @ My Favorite Finds Reply:

    @Jen, I’ve been experimenting a bit, and I”m finding that I can use pumpkin puree in some recipes in place of the oil…sort of like you use applesauce in brownies to replace the oil and make them a bit “healthier”.

    [Reply]

  10. We’ve had grocery stores in our area (South Dakota) run out of canned pumpkin altogether this year. This is really helpful; now I know how to get my pumpkin fix!

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    Carrie @ My Favorite Finds Reply:

    @Tanya@The Inspired Budget, That’s the point I was at, Tanya…in need some some serious pumpkin baked goods! You have to do what you have to do, right? :)

    [Reply]

  11. i just made pumpkin bread, but i am craving more, so yay! now i can make even more!

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  12. We’ve grown and pureed our own pumpkins for 3 years now (http://theabundantwife.com/how-to-cook-a-jack-o-lantern-pumpkin/), and love eating pumpkin recipes every Autumn! We use whatever size we have available, but I have never noticed any significant difference in flavor. My kids love seeing the whole process from seed to carving to cooking and finally eating! It’s so fun to tell them the pumpkin we’re eating is one we grew in our own backyard. :)

    By the way, our Walmart had pumpkins on sale for $1 the day after Halloween, and FoodMaxx was giving them away for FREE. If you want to make cheap puree, that would be a good time to shop for pumpkins!

    [Reply]

    Jen Reply:

    NO WAY!! FREE and $1??? Oh, I So wish I would have hit the stores on Nov. 1. I think I was there on the 3rd stocking up on the left over candy for baking, but did not think to check on pumpkins. Next year, I sure will. :) Thanks, Jessica.

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