If people knew how easy it is to make pumpkin puree at home they would never buy the canned stuff ever again. The homemade version is so much richer and tastier and also you know exactly what is in your food, meaning there will be no conservatives, no salt, nothing unnecessary added to that wonderful taste of pure pumpkin.
The pumpkin puree is much more in use on the other side of the ocean (in the Northern America) than in Europe but people use it more and more here as well. In France you don’t find canned pumpkin in shops so the only way to have some puree is to make it yourself.
This method couldn’t be any easier You just clean up the inside of the squash, cut it in half or in more pieces if it’s a big one and place it in the oven until it’s cooked through and soft. Take it out the oven, peel the skin off (this is sooooooo much easier after roasting compared to trying to peel the raw squash), whizz some time in a food processor and you’re done. I use this method mostly for butternut squash because I like the slightly nutty taste, but it’ll work as well with any pumpkin or squash with soft and smooth flesh.
- 1 butternut squash or any other squash of smooth texture
Heat your oven to 180C / 375F.
Cut the butternut squash in half lengthwise.
Remove the seeds with a tablespoon.
You can brush the cut sides with some olive oil if you wish but I usually don’t add anything since I use the puree for both sweet and savory cooking afterwards.
Place the squash halves on a baking sheet or an oven dish, cut sides down. They may let out quite a bit of liquid depending on the squash or pumpkin you use so I suggest a baking sheet or a dish with small sides.
Roast for 40-45 minutes.
Remove from the oven and turn the roasted pumpkin pieces on a plate cut sides upward for them to cool down faster. Be careful not to burn yourself because the flesh of your vegetables will be soft now!
Do not leave them to cool on the baking dish because they will reabsorb all liquid that oozed out during roasting and the puree will become soggy and wet. It is not a problem if you plan on using it for soup for example but for baking you need drier puree.
Once the pumpkin has cooled down a bit you can very easily peel off the skin. Cut the peeled squash into cubes and place it in a food processor or a blender. Mix until smooth and silky.
You can use the puree right away or store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.
The puree also freezes really well. You can freeze fresh pumpkin puree for up to a year but to maintain the best taste quality I suggest you to use it in 6 months at the latest.
TIP! I use zipper freezer bags for freezing anything puree-like. I fill the bag with the amount of puree I usually want to use in any given recipe, zip it closed with as little air in it as possible and pat it flat on a freezer shelf so it becomes a sort of a tile of puree. It makes organizing the freezer so much tidier.
Some ideas of what to do with homemade pumpkin puree:
- Pumpkin soup
- Pumpkin pie
- Add it in the dough or filling of pumpkin sweet rolls or any other pastry
- Pumpkin blinis
- Add some in your morning smoothies (for this you can freeze some puree in the ice cube tray so you have small portions you can easily throw in your blender)