We saw first-hand what it's like to face food shortages during lockdown this spring, and this fall, we refuse to scramble for the last of the canned pumpkin on the shelf. Luckily, it's easy to whip up a pumpkin purée that's even healthier and tastier than the canned stuff: no BPA, no extra packaging, and loads of extra flavor.
When it comes to homemade pumpkin purée, it's even easier to control the flavor. Choose your favorite winter squash, from rich butternut to kabocha, with its faint chestnut flavor.
No matter which squash you choose, you'll soon see just how easy this purée is to perfect. It's delicious in pumpkin overnight oatmeal, paleo pumpkin pie, no-bake pumpkin balls, or dairy-free pumpkin alfredo. You can even pair it with homemade pumpkin pie spice to make a paleo pumpkin pie so natural it's nearly a health food! (Don't worry – it's effing delicious too.)
- Cook Time
- Prep Time
- 1 pumpkin or winter squash, whole
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Scrub the pumpkin or winter squash well and dry with a dish towel. Place in the center of your oven, right on the rack. (You may want to place a cookie sheet underneath – sometimes there's a bit of leakage.)
Bake 1-2 hours, depending on the size of your pumpkin or squash. What you're looking for is for a knife to easily go through the skin and into the center.
Once the pumpkin is cooked, remove it from the oven and let it cool completely. Halve the cooled pumpkin and remove the seeds, then peel off the cooked skin so you're left with pumpkin mash. Place the pumpkin mash in a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven (the enamel-coated one from Caraway is non-stick and non-toxic) and use a wooden spoon to completely mash it into a purée. Depending on the variety you used, you will have more or less water in your pumpkin, so cook it over low heat until it achieves the proper consistency. With something dense like a red kuri or butternut squash, I find the bake in the oven is more than enough to get the consistency I like, but with a pumpkin, especially a stringy one, it's nice to cook it a little bit or even blend for a uniform consistency (try using a high-powered blender like Vitamix for a super silky texture perfect for pumpkin pie).
You can now use your pumpkin purée for all your favorite sweet and savory pumpkin recipes, from soups to pastas to pies. The cooked pumpkin will keep in the fridge for 1 week, but you can also can it and store it now for Thanksgiving craziness later.