Fresh Pumpkin Purée

Fresh pumpkin purée makes an incredible pie, and it’s something you can do well ahead of time, when you have the oven space. It’s so easy, you may never go back to canned pumpkin.

Fresh pumpkin puree in a bowl.

Every fall, smaller pie pumpkins start popping up in markets. Next time you see them, grab a few and turn them into fresh purée for Pumpkin Pie, Pumpkin Bars, or any pumpkin-y recipe you happen to have. The purée freezes beautifully, too.

One fresh 3-pound pumpkin makes about as much as one 15-ounce can of the store-bought pumpkin, so plan accordingly. The taste is amazing.

Ingredient notes:

  • Pie pumpkins: Smaller and more adorable than a standard carving pumpkin, these cuties are also known as sugar pumpkins. Specific varieties include: Baby Pam, Ghost Rider, Autumn Gold, New England, Cinderella, and Fairy Tale. They’re grown specifically for cooking, so the flesh is denser, more plentiful, and less stringy than a jack-o-lantern pumpkin. Don’t confuse the pie pumpkins with the tiny gourd pumpkins, though–those can’t be turned into purée.

Step-by-step instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Wash the pumpkin in cold water, scrubbing off any mud or debris. Using a sturdy knife, cut the pumpkin in half.
    A pumpkin cut in half on a cutting board.
  2. Remove the seeds, the stem, and any particularly fibrous bits, then cut each half into 2 or 3 pieces.
  3. Arrange the wedges skin side down on a rimmed baking sheet (parchment makes clean-up easier) and bake until tender, 60 to 90 minutes.
    Fresh pumpkin roasted on a baking sheet.
  4. When finished, let the pumpkin cool completely. Next, peel or scoop the flesh from the skin.
    Roasted pumpkin flesh separated from the skin.
  5. Add to a blender or a food processor and process until smooth.
    Fresh pumpkin puree in a food processor.
  6. Spoon the purée into a cheesecloth-lined sieve and set over the sink to drain for about one hour. This step helps get rid of any extra moisture and concentrates the pumpkin flavor. After that, you’re ready to start cooking.
    Fresh pumpkin puree draining in cheesecloth.

Recipe tips and variations:

  • Save the seeds: Roast those seeds and snack on them.
  • Yield: You need just under 2 cups of the pumpkin purée to replace one 15-ounce can of pumpkin.
  • Freezing: The processed pumpkin freezes like a dream, for pumpkin pie in February, if that’s your thing. Scoop into a freezer bag, date, label, and freeze for up to 3 months.
  • Make ahead: Store fresh purée in the refrigerator and use within the week.
  • Other squashes: Spoiler alert! Canned pumpkin is actually made from a variety of squash, the Dickinson squash, which tastes close to pumpkin. So, feel free to use this technique with another type of squash: Hubbard, Kabocha, Butternut, or Acorn.

Pumpkin, spice, and everything nice:

Fresh pumpkin puree in a bowl.

Fresh Pumpkin Purée

Fresh pumpkin purée makes an incredible pie, and it's something you can do well ahead of time, when you have the oven space. It's so easy, you may never go back to canned pumpkin.
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Print Pin Rate
Course: Pantry
Cuisine: American
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 88kcal
Author: Meggan Hill

Ingredients

  • 1 (3 pound) pie pumpkin (see note 1)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper. Thoroughly scrub pumpkin. Halve pumpkin and remove seeds with your hands by combing through the fibrous strings with your fingers. Scrape out and discard fibrous strings. Rinse seeds with cool water and dry well with kitchen towel.
  • Cut into 5-inch pieces. Place pieces skin-side down in a shallow baking pan lined with parchment paper and roast uncovered until tender,  about 1 to 1-1/2 hours.
  • Remove from oven and cool completely. Scoop the pulp into a blender or food processor, and blend until smooth.
  • Place pumpkin puree into a cheesecloth-lined sieve, and allow to drain for 60 minutes. Discard liquid.

Notes

  1. Pie pumpkins: Smaller and more adorable than a standard carving pumpkin, these cuties are also known as sugar pumpkins. Specific varieties include: Baby Pam, Ghost Rider, Autumn Gold, New England, Cinderella, and Fairy Tale. They're grown specifically for cooking, so the flesh is denser, more plentiful, and less stringy than a jack-o-lantern pumpkin. Don't confuse the pie pumpkins with the tiny gourd pumpkins, though--those can't be turned into purée.
  2. Save the seeds: Roast those seeds and snack on them.
  3. Yield: You need just under 2 cups of the pumpkin purée to replace one 15-ounce can of pumpkin.
  4. Freezing: The processed pumpkin freezes like a dream, for pumpkin pie in February, if that's your thing. Scoop into a freezer bag, date, label, and freeze for up to 3 months.
  5. Make ahead: Store fresh purée in the refrigerator and use within the week.
  6. Other squashes: Spoiler alert! Canned pumpkin is actually made from a variety of squash, the Dickinson squash, which tastes close to pumpkin. So, feel free to use this technique with another type of squash: Hubbard, Kabocha, Butternut, or Acorn.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5cup | Calories: 88kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 3mg | Potassium: 1157mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 28961IU | Vitamin C: 31mg | Calcium: 71mg | Iron: 3mg
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