Let me tell you, if I was canned pumpkin’s publicist right now, I would be having one very stressful week. Several days ago, canned pumpkin got called out for being made mostly from winter squash varieties (like butternut, hubbard, golden delicious, and others) and may or may not include any real pumpkin puree at all. Naturally, the Internet went wild, giving everyone an excuse to feel ~some type of way~ about the key ingredient in countless festive fall recipes.
If you heard the news about canned pumpkin and feel similarly upset, don’t sweat it: you can make your own pumpkin puree instead. We’re not above any shortcut, but we promise this is a DIY that’s incredibly easy. You’ll taste the difference when you make homemade pumpkin puree, too, especially when you roast your pumpkin into a sweeter, more caramelized state. And having those extra seeds to roast never hurt anyone.
Here’s the easiest way to make pumpkin puree from scratch.
1. Prep your pumpkin.
Take one four- to six-pound baking pumpkin and slice off the stem with a sharp, sturdy chef’s knife. Then cut the pumpkin in half length-wise (from top to bottom) and scoop out the seeds and attached strings with a metal spoon. Reserve seeds for roasting later on.
2. Get roasting.
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Sprinkle the pumpkin with salt and lay each half cut-side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast until a knife can easily be inserted into the flesh all over and the inside feels soft, about 35 to 45 minutes.
3. Scrape the flesh.
Allow your pumpkin to sufficiently cool for at least one hour or so. Use a large spoon to scrape the roasted flash from inside the pumpkin, leaving just the skin or shell behind.
4. Puree until smooth.
Transfer your roasted pumpkin flesh to the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth and creamy, about three to four minutes. Once you’re finished, scoop the pumpkin puree into a food storage container and refrigerate immediately. It’ll last for a few days in the fridge or a couple of months in your freezer, but you’ll be knee deep in delicious pumpkin desserts by then! (Note: if some water separation occurs after the puree sits in the fridge, drain it away before you cook with the puree.)
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