October 15, 2013

DIY Pumpkin Purée

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Forget the canned stuff. Homemade pumpkin purée tastes pleasantly fresher and lighter.
For the richest flavour, I prefer to start with roasted pumpkin. However, this popular orange winter squash could also be steamed, boiled or microwaved (see below).

1 large pie pumpkin (3 lb/1.5 kg), halved, seeded


Preheat oven to 400F (200C).

Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Place pumpkin halves, skin side up, on baking sheet. Roast in preheated oven 45 minutes, or until very soft.

Let sit until cool enough to handle. Scrape flesh from skin and transfer to food processor. Discard skin. Purée pumpkin until smooth.

Transfer to storage tub. Cover and refrigerate. If necessary, drain before using.

Makes 3 cups (750 mL).

  • How much do you need? Remember that 1 lb (500 g) of pumpkin chunks yields 1 cup (250 mL) of pumpkin puréed in a food processor. When mashed manually (which is not ideal), 1 lb (500 g) of pumpkin chunks yields 1-1/4 cups (300 mL) of pumpkin purée.

How-To: Drain pumpkin purée. Canned purée is more tannic and pastier than homemade. Before measuring and using homemade purée for a pie or dip, drain it for 30 minutes in a fine-mesh sieve. However, you can use it as is for soup.

Make-Ahead: Refrigerate purée up to 5 days or freeze portions in zip-lock bags up to 6 months.

Shopping Cart: Pie pumpkins are the best choice for homemade purée, but you can use chunks from a jack-o’-lantern pumpkin.

Tool Time: A serrated grapefruit spoon is a handy tool to scrape out seeds and stringy fibres before cooking pumpkin. If you don’t have a food processor, use a potato masher, ricer or food mill to purée cooked pumpkin.

Waste Not: You can save and roast pumpkin seeds. However, the seeds from pie pumpkins are smaller than the ones found in big Halloween pumpkins. 


Steamed Pumpkin
Place chunks in steamer basket set over simmering water. Cover and steam 20 to 30 minutes, until easily pierced with skewer.

Boiled Pumpkin
Simmer chunks in boiling, salted water 15 to 20 minutes, until tender. Drain.

Microwaved Pumpkin
Place chunks in microwaveable dish with 1 tbsp (15 mL) water. Cover. Microwave on high power 5 minutes, or until easily pierced with skewer. Let sit, covered, until cool enough to handle.