Until a couple of years ago I always used the canned pumpkin from the store for recipes. Then, my veterinarian (pumpkin is good for dogs 🙂 ) told me how easy it was to cook a pumpkin and make your own puree. I have cooked up pumpkins ever since then and freezing them. Not only do my dogs love getting fresh pumpkin, but I love it better than the canned stuff.
I like to wait until after Halloween and buy them on clearance. Usually the pie pumpkins and the carving pumpkins go on sale then. Last year I was able to get 10 pumpkins for $.50 each. I cooked, pureed, and froze them all. Not only was it cheaper than canned pumpkin, it also tasted better.
Start by washing off the pumpkin. I just put it in the sink and use a vegetable brush to make sure I get all the dirt off. Wash it off with some water and let it dry.
You will need a large tray to cook the pumpkin on. I love this tray from Nordic Ware. It fits a pumpkin perfectly. Place the pumpkin on the tray and cut it in half.
Once the pumpkin is cut in half use a spoon to scrape out the seeds and strings. You can either throw those out or roast the seeds.
Place the pumpkin cut side down on the tray. Cook at 350 degrees for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
When the pumpkin is able to easily be pierced by a fork it is done. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
Once the pumpkin is cooled you can cut it into smaller pieces and scrape the pumpkin off from the skin.
To puree the pumpkin you can add the pumpkin to a food processor. Blend on low speed for about 30 seconds.
You can store the pumpkin puree in either a tuperware or freezer safe plastic bags. I like to store them in 1 or 2 cup measurements in small baggies. Then, when a recipe calls for a measurement I can just pull some out of the freezer.
The pumpkin will last in the freezer for about 12 months. So, just because it isn’t pumpkin season doesn’t mean you have to settle for canned pumpkin. You can have the taste of fresh pumpkin all year long.
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