If you’re starting with a raw pumpkin, see how we prepare our pumpkins at How to Use the Whole Pumpkin – Part 1.
After baking the pumpkin halves for a looooong time, scoop out the seeds and stringy pulp first.
Set them aside to for later. Then scoop the thicker flesh out of each pumpkin shell.
There are several ways to process the flesh. We have used a KitchenAid food strainer but truth be told we wouldn’t recommend using it for this–we think it’s a bit overkill for pumpkin. On the other hand, our Ninja Kitchen System works like a charm. We have made puree in blenders, food processors, and our Foley food mill. For small quantities we’ve also used an old fashioned hand potato masher and even just a fork.
Chunky puree is fine for pumpkin bread, cookies, and some savory dishes, but a smoother puree is nice for pies and cream soup. You can press pureed pumpkin through a sieve to make it smoother. For the creamiest texture, make sure the pumpkin is REALLY well cooked.
After you’ve pureed all the nice flesh, use the pulp and seeds. If you prefer to roast the seeds, separate them from the rest of the pulp.
You can puree the pulp and seeds into a textured blend that adds substance and nutrients to cookies and bread. We do this last because the sediment it creates in the processing machine or tool could hinder the finer pureeing of the thick pumpkin flesh. Who wants to clean equipment more than necessary?
Once all the pumpkin is pureed, we just measure it out in 1 or 2 cup increments and put it into sandwich baggies. We freeze them flat, and then stick them all in a bigger zip-top freezer bag.
To use, thaw in fridge and drain off liquid if necessary. Homemade pumpkin puree can be more watery than canned pumpkin. It can be drained for several hours in a colander lined with paper towels.
It’s ready to use in your favorite yummy pumpkin recipes!
For some main dish and snack ideas, see How to Use Pumpkin in Savory Dishes.