Pumpkin puree is a staple in my house. I especially enjoy homemade pumpkin puree–no preservatives or extra ingredients, just pure, unadulterated pumpkin. Bonus points if it’s from my own garden.
This year is good for pumpkins in my garden. I harvested six bright orange ones by the middle of August, which is super early. So I got an early start on preparing pumpkin puree to freeze for later in the year!
In this post, I’m going to show you my method for how to make pumpkin puree. After three summers of preparing it, I’ve found that using the crock pot is the best way for a lazy person to get this done; no need to mess with turning the oven on or brushing the pumpkin with butter and oil.
Here are the tools you’ll need (Not pictured: Crock pot.)
- A pie pumpkin (also known as a sugar pumpkin). A pie pumpkin is not the same as what you’ll find for carving in the fall; if you’re not sure if a certain type of pumpkin is good for eating, be sure to ask when you buy it.
- A melon scoop – I have one of these because I use it frequently for scraping out seeds for squash and melons. (If this is your first time making pumpkin puree, you can just use a sturdy metal spoon for scooping out the seeds). Here’s the melon scoop I have on Amazon. I’ve been using it for two years and really like it–it’s cheap and sturdy, gets the job done.
- A sharp knife
- A decent sized crock pot (Any size will work, but the tiny quart-sized ones won’t allow you to make very much in each batch!)
Cut the top off each pumpkin, slice it in half and scrape out the seeds with the melon scoop or a sturdy metal spoon. This part takes a little muscle, but don’t worry, it’s all downhill from here. I do 2-3 pumpkins at a time, depending on their size (limited by how much will fit into the crock pot).
Cut the pumpkin pieces in half one more time, then arrange the pieces in your crock pot. Make sure you can still close the lid completely.
Cook on low for several hours, until the pumpkin flesh can be pierced easily with a fork (the amount of time will vary by the thickness of your pumpkin pieces and the temp of your crock pot. Mine took about 5 hours.)
Once the pumpkin is cooked, you can work with it right away, but I like to let it cool down to room temperature, or even put it in the fridge overnight if I don’t have time for the next step right away. When the pumpkin is cooled enough to handle, scrape out the flesh of the pumpkin and discard the skin. (This is WAY easier than trying not to burn yourself on the hot pumpkin, trust me.)
Puree the pumpkin flesh until it’s a smooth consistency using a food processor. You could also use a blender in a pinch.
Divide into containers based on how much you will use later on; I prefer pint and half pint jars. Label and freeze.
What’s your favorite thing to make with pumpkin puree?