I love baking with pumpkin but canned pumpkin is so expensive! I decided to try cooking up a pumpkin and pureeing it myself this year. I was a bit unsure of how to go about it. The whole process turned out to be really easy!
There are several ways you can cook up a pumpkin. You can use the microwave, boil it, roast it in the oven, pressure cook it, or roast it in an electric roaster. I used our electric roaster; it’s big enough to fit the whole pumpkin and it’s a lot faster than using the oven.
First, I wiped down the sides of the pumpkin with a damp cloth to get any extra dirt off. Then I cut off the stem (I just did this so it would fit in the roaster better) and scooped out all the of the seeds and stringy stuff. I kept the seeds separate so that I could roast them later.
Next, I put some water in the roaster and placed the pumpkin in it, cut-side down. It didn’t fit with both pieces flat, so one half ended up being propped up a bit by the other. This didn’t make a difference in the cooking. I also stuck in the stem pieces, since there is pumpkin “meat” on that, too! I didn’t want to waste any of it!
I let the pumpkin cook at about 350 or 375F..it took less than an hour. Using the oven would take longer, so if you plan on going that route you might want to look up cooking times for the size of pumpkin you have online. You can tell it’s done by just by poking it with a fork. If the fork goes in easily, it’s done.
I let the pumpkin cool a few minutes, then flipped a piece over and used a metal serving spoon to scoop all of the pumpkin out of the shell. It came out very easily, and I was surprised by how thin the actual shell is! Each half of the pumpkin filled my mixing bowl.
You can use a blender or food processor to puree your pumpkin. I used an upright hand blender..one of the ones you’d use for making a smoothie. It only took a couple of minutes to puree the whole bowl of pumpkin. I bagged the puree into 1-cup portions in zipper bags, then repeated the process with the 2nd half of the pumpkin.
Is the savings worth the time?
I definitely think that the savings are worth the time it takes to prepare the pumpkin. It took me about 1.5-2 hours total, and that included about 45 minutes of doing other things around the house while the pumpkin cooked. That was also with my 3 year old daughter helping me to scoop out the pumpkin; doing it by myself would have been a fair bit faster.
I bought my pumpkin for $3.99, and it yielded me 13 cups of puree. Because our electric roaster is more energy efficient than our oven, and it was on for so little time, it probably cost us pennies to cook the pumpkin. Add in the cost of the baggies, and the total cost is probably still under $5.00. I bought my pumpkin at the local grocery store; you could probably get them cheaper at a larger store or directly from a farmer at a road-side stand.
Do you have a favourite pumpkin recipe? Share it below, then check out my recipe for pumpkin roll with cream cheese filling!