Canned pumpkin is pretty cheap and easy. But what if you want to know where the pumpkin comes from? I decided to give making my own organic pumpkin puree a try! I found a beautifully ugly, organic Hubbard Squash at the farmer’s market.
Choosing your pumpkin/squash: No matter which you choose, you want one that feels heavy for its size. Pumpkins should have its stem intact, 2-3 inches, but some squashes are sold with them much shorter. Just make sure the stem is intact and not broken or split. Make sure the skin is free of blemishes and marks. I chose a Hubbard Squash, but you could use a sugar pumpkin, butternut, or another breed. Don’t use Jack-o-Lantern style pumpkins, as they are pretty stringy and tough. NEVER cook a carved pumpkin. Bacteria loves those things!
A 5 lb pumpkin or squash will give you between 4 and 5 cups of puree. It freezes very well if you end up making too much. I originally made this puree in the fall, but finally got around to using it now.
Boiling Method: Remove the seeds (save them for roasting!) and strings. Peel and cut the pumpkin into chunks, minus the rind. Put the chunks in a large pot and cover it with water. Bring to a light boil and cook until tender. Make sure it’s completely cool before you puree it. It holds heat very well and will burn you.
B)aking Method: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Wash your pumpkin well and dry it, as you won’t be chopping off the rind this time. Cut the pumpkin in half and remove the seeds and strings. Keep the seeds for roasting (yum!). Rub the inside of the pumpkin with oil and put them in a roasting pan, cut side down, with about a cup of water. Bake until tender, about 1-1.5 hours, depending on size. Remove the pumpkin from the pan and wait for it to cool. Then scoop the flesh out of the rind. Puree it!
Here is where you pretend that I didn’t forget to take a picture of the pureed product. Just “ooh” and “aah” at how pretty it is. Comment on how yellow it looks in comparison to canned. Thank you.
Note: If you make your own pumpkin puree, you may either need to add less flour or more liquid if you put it in a baked good, depending on the recipe. When you make your own, they sometimes have less liquid than the canned version.