Pumpkin puree, a versatile and wholesome kitchen staple, serves as the heart of countless delectable recipes. In this article, we’ll delve into the world of pumpkin puree, exploring its uses, benefits, and how to make and store it to elevate your culinary creations.
Whether you’re gearing up for the fall season or simply looking to add a touch of autumnal flavour to your dishes year-round, pumpkin puree is your key ingredient for culinary creativity.
What is pumpkin puree?
A smooth pumpkin puree is prepared by blending or mashing cooked pumpkin in a food processor. This versatile, round orange ingredient can be prepared through various methods, including baking, roasting, sautéing, steaming, or boiling, each imparting a distinct flavour to the puree.
For instance, roasting employs higher heat and Maillard browning, which reduces moisture content in the puree.
Creating homemade pumpkin puree involves blending a tender, cooked pumpkin in a blender or food processor, offering a straightforward process that typically takes under an hour. However, if convenience is paramount, opting for canned pumpkin puree is a quick and hassle-free alternative.
Is canned pumpkin and pumpkin puree the same?
Canned pumpkin puree is your go-to when you want pumpkin goodness in a hurry. It’s essentially just cooked and blended pumpkin, and it’s super handy for all sorts of recipes. Think of it as a pure pumpkin blank canvas with no extra stuff added. But here’s the scoop:
- Consistency: Canned pumpkin puree is like Mr. Reliable. Its consistent texture and moisture level make it a breeze to work with your recipes. Making puree from scratch at home might turn out differently each time, depending on how you do it.
- Flavour: Homemade pumpkin puree can sometimes have that extra pop of freshness and flavour compared to the canned version. That’s because the canning process can sometimes mess with the taste a bit.
- Convenience: Canned pumpkin puree is the kitchen superhero you can summon any time of the year. It’s always there on your pantry shelf, ready to save you time and effort. Making puree from scratch? Well, that can take a bit longer.
- Cost: If you’re looking to save some bucks, making your puree from fresh pumpkins, especially during pumpkin season, can be a budget-friendly option. But here’s the catch – it can also consume more time. So, it’s a trade-off.
- In the end, the choice between canned and homemade puree boils down to your taste buds and how much time you’ve got on your hands.
READ ALSO: Best Homemade German Chocolate Cake Recipe
What is the best pumpkin for pumpkin puree?
Although large carving pumpkins are fantastic for crafting festive Jack-O’-Lanterns, they aren’t the best choice when it comes to making pumpkin puree. For that, you’ll want to turn to sugar pumpkins.
These little, round, orange pumpkins are the real champs for puree. Remember, the smaller the pumpkin, the better it is for the job; larger ones tend to be more watery and less flavorful.
Can you Freeze pumpkin puree?
Absolutely! Pumpkin puree is freezer-friendly. If you’re aiming to keep your pumpkin puree fresh for longer than a week, freezing is the way to go. You can stash larger portions in a zip-top bag or go with smaller portions using a muffin tin or an ice cube tray.
In the freezer, pumpkin puree remains good for up to a year. Just let it thaw overnight in the refrigerator when you’re ready to use it.
How to make pumpkin puree from scratch
Ingredients for making pumpkin puree
- Whole pumpkin
- Select a couple of small-sized pumpkins. Cut the pumpkin in half. Using a spoon or a scoop, scrape out the seeds and pulp from the centre. You don’t have to be too thorough with this.
- Reserve all of the seeds in a separate bowl. Repeat until all the pumpkin pieces are largely free of seeds and pulp.
- Place the pumpkin pieces on a baking sheet (face up or face down; I’ve done both) and roast in a 350°F oven until the pumpkin is fork-tender 45 minutes. They should be nice and light golden brown when done.
- Peel off the skin from the pumpkin pieces until you have a big pile of the stuff. If you have a food processor, throw in a few chunks at a time. A blender will work, too, if you add a little water. Or you can simply mash it up with a potato masher, move it through a potato ricer, or process it through a food mill.
- Pulse the pumpkin until smooth. If it looks too dry, add in a few tablespoons of water during the pulsing to give it the needed moisture. (Note: if the puree is overly watery, you should strain it over cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer to get rid of some of the liquid.)
- Dump the pureed goodness into a bowl, and continue pureeing until all the pumpkin is done.
- You can either use this immediately in whatever pumpkin recipe you’d like or store it in the freezer for later use.
- Spoon about 1 cupful of pumpkin into each plastic storage bag to store in the freezer. Seal the bag with a tiny opening, then use your hands to flatten the pumpkin inside the bag and push out the air. Store them in the freezer until you need them.
Pumpkin Puree Recipes Methods
There are various recipes to use to make pumpkin puree. These are some of the methods you can try to make your puree.
Pan method on Stovetop
- You can choose any amount of pumpkin you need. Peel and chop them in 1 to 1.5-inch cubes. Remove the pith and the seeds. In a pan, add the pumpkin and enough water to just cover the pumpkins.
- Simmer with or without a lid until the pumpkins have softened and cooked well. Drain using a colander and let the cooked pumpkin cubes cool to room temperature. This will prevent steam from building up in your blender, which can cause great injury!
- Add the cooled pumpkin cubes to a blender.
- Note: No blender? No problem! You can opt to mash the pumpkins with a potato masher or an immersion blender or feed them through a food mill. Processing them in a food processor will also work.
- Blend till smooth or chunky (whatever your preference) without adding any water. Store in the refrigerator for a week or freeze for about 2 to 3 months.
When using the Instant Pot, start by steaming peeled and diced pumpkin in a steamer basket. Before you begin cooking, make sure to remove the pith and seeds from the pumpkin. Add about 1 to 1.25 cups of water to the Instant Pot’s steel insert.
Here’s what to do next:
- Place a trivet in the steel insert of your Instant Pot.
- Put the steamer basket containing the pumpkin cubes on the trivet or a stand.
- Secure the lid of the Instant Pot.
- Set the Instant Pot to Manual/Pressure Cook mode on high for 5 to 6 minutes.
- After the cooking time is up, perform a quick pressure release, taking care to avoid any steam escaping from the valve.
- Once done, strain the pumpkin cubes, allow them to cool, and then blend them to your desired consistency.
Pumpkin puree is not just a seasonal delight but a year-round kitchen essential. Its velvety texture and rich flavour make it a versatile ingredient, perfect for both sweet and savoury dishes.
Whether you’re whipping up classic pumpkin pies, hearty soups, or inventive smoothies, pumpkin puree adds a touch of autumnal warmth to your creations. Additionally, its nutritional benefits, ease of preparation, and adaptability make it a must-have in any home cook’s repertoire. So, embrace the pumpkin puree and let your culinary imagination soar with the flavours of the season!
My pumpkin is watery. What should I do?
Don’t fret! If your puree has too much water, you can easily evaporate it by simmering it on the stovetop. Just remember to stir frequently to prevent anything from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
To prevent watery pumpkin puree in the future, make sure to drain any excess liquid from the pumpkin cubes before blending. Additionally, keep in mind that steaming or pan-cooking the pumpkin cubes will yield a thinner consistency compared to oven roasting.
Is pumpkin puree cooked or raw?
Pumpkin puree is made by steaming and pureeing squash, so there are no added ingredients. Is canned pumpkin cooked? Yes, it’s already been cooked via steaming. It’s safe to eat canned pumpkin straight from the can, but it’s infinitely better baked into a pan of pumpkin bars.
What is a puree made from?
A purée (or mash) is cooked food, usually vegetables, fruits or legumes, that has been ground, pressed, blended or sieved to the consistency of a creamy paste or liquid. Purées of specific foods are often known by specific names, e.g., applesauce or hummus.
How do you make puree?
You can puree food using a blender or a food processor, or it can be mashed with a fork and then sieved. After blending, you may need to sieve food to remove any small pieces that could cause you to choke.