Pumpkin Purée

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Who's ready for pie? I know I am.

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Growing up, pumpkin pie was my favorite thing about Thanksgiving. My grandmother never disappointed in making perfect pies, and her pies in particular were my favorite! I remember trying a store-bought pie when I was a child and being revolted by it, because it was nothing like my grandma's. 

I wanted to try my hand last year at making pumpkin puree from scratch for my pies instead of getting it from a can, which has always been just fine with me.

When making new foods from scratch, I always ask myself 3 questions: is it easier (typically not), is it tastier, and is it cheaper? These questions always help me decide if its worth it to make said item at home rather than buying it already made. Pumpkin puree is not cheaper to make at home, and is obviously not easier, so i was afraid that i was working for nothing.  Boy was I wrong!

Homemade pumpkin puree is absolutely delicious, and it is hard for me personally not to eat it all before freezing it. That is a high contrast compared to store-bought, which I can barely stand the flavor of on its own.

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Another aspect that makes pumpkin puree worth your time is the fact that you are trading the processed, canned pumpkin for fresh, colorful, and fragrant pumpkin. It is more healthy when made at home, no matter what the can says. The fiber, potassium, and vitamin C content in pumpkin all support heart health. and It also aids in issues with high blood pressure. It is very hard for me to believe that you could get nearly the same benefits from canned versions.

Although it probably isn't hurting anything to eat your pumpkin canned and from the store, you will be missing out on beautiful flavor and nutrition.

So, to answer the question of whether or not its worth the effort and extra dollar or two to make your own pumpkin puree, then the answer is: absolutely! Especially considering you can make it ahead and freeze it for the holidays. It will last about a year in the freezer.

I use 2-3 medium pie pumpkins for one pie, but you can use as many as you want!

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Cut the very top off of your pumpkins and toss them, then cut your pumpkins into quarters.

3. Scrape the guts out of the pumpkins, but are you going to toss the seeds? Of course not! You can use your already dirty sheet pan to toast them later with some oil and sea salt, or boil them to remove the shells. 

4. Cover a cookie sheet with foil and spray it with cooking spray.

5. Place pumpkin slices onto the sheet and place in oven.

6. Bake for 30-45 minutes, checking every now and then. It is done baking when it is fork-tender. Below is a before-and-after.

7. After allowing the pumpkin to cool for a few minutes, pick off any burnt stringy bits.

8. peel skins off of the slices, adding the remaining pumpkin to a blender. 

9. Blend on high for 2-5 minutes. you might have to help it along with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula - just be sure not to go so far down that you cut your utensil! I'm speaking from experience... Below is yet another before and after.

10. Check to make sure that the puree is silky smooth before pouring it into your freezer bags. I find it easier to place the open zip lock into a liquid measuring cup so that it stand up for you as you pour.

11. Freeze for up to a year, maybe even longer if you use storage bags.

Enjoy your silky, flavorful, and fragrant pumpkin puree.

Here is a pin-able photo for Pinterest:

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