Homemade Pumpkin or Hubbard Squash Puree

  • Serves: Makes about 1 3/4 cups equal to one, 15-ounce can of solid pack pumpkin puree.
  • Baking Temp (degrees F): 375
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Variation: Sweet Potato or Yam Puree 

Fall Sugar Pumpkins at the Farmers' Market. Photo by Sarah Phillips

For baking, solid pack pumpkin (Libby's brand) is the best to use because it has the right water content. Sometimes homemade has too much water, throwing off your recipe. Use what are called sugar, sweet or cheese pumpkins (have smooth and lightly colored pumpkin skins, not the jack-o-lantern variety) because they have firm, delicious flesh. Hubbard Squash can also be used; believe it or not, it tastes similar to pumpkin! Make sure all homemade purees are well-drained in a colander a few hours in the refrigerator before using. Want to roast all of those pumpkin seeds? Go to the Roasted Pumpkin Seeds recipe.
We want to help prevent food waste and show you ways to use what we call misshapen or ugly produce. 
Join our Ugly Produce is Beautiful Educational Campaign, helping to bring awareness to our Nation's enormous food waste problem. This recipe shows you how to use ugly produce in beautiful and delicious ways!
FRUIT AND PUREES RECIPE HELP

Sarah's
Secrets

Pumpkin or squash can also be cut into chunks and steamed, then run through a food mill or food processor. Because the results are much more watery than baking it, heat it gently in a heavy-bottomed saucepan to remove any excess water before using.

INGREDIENTS
One 5 to 8 pound sugar, sweet or cheese pumpkins (have smooth and lightly colored pumpkin skins, not the jack-o-lantern variety) are best used for because they have firm, delicious flesh.

Hubbard Squash can also be used.

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Position an oven shelf to the middle of the oven. Heat the oven to 375 degrees F and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

2. Cut the very bottom off the pumpkin (5 to 8 pounds) or squash. Then cut in half lengthwise and remove and save the seeds.






3. Rub the cut surfaces of the pumpkin or squash with vegetable oil.


4. Place cut sides down, on the prepared baking sheet.


5. Bake until tender when pierced with a knife, 45 to an hour in a half.
NOTE: You may want to remove any overly caramelized pumpkin on the very edge. Just use a spoon to scrape it off. Make sure you eat it - delicious!


6. Pare off the skins, or scoop the flesh out with a large spoon into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, discarding the skin.


7. Puree the pumpkin or squash in a food processor.




8. Place the puree in a paper-towel lined sieve set over a deep bowl. Set in the refrigerator.


9. Let drain, stirring occasionally until the puree is as thick as canned solid pack pumpkin, about 1- 2 hours.

For the pumpkin seeds:
Rinse and dry the seeds on paper towels. Go to the Roasted Pumpkin Seeds recipe, or set them aside to grow in next year’s garden.
The seeds may not produce the same kind of pumpkin, if the variety is a hybrid, but it’s always fun to see what pops up!


STORAGE
*Pumpkin puree freezes well. To freeze, measure cooled puree into one cup portions, place in ridged freezer containers, leaving 1/2-inch head space or pack into zip closure bags. Label, date, and freeze at 0 degrees F for up to one year.
(NOTE: Transfer hot foods to shallow containers to speed cooling. You can place loosely covered foods in the refrigerator while still warm; cover when food is completely cooled.) Use this puree in recipes or substitute in the same amount in any recipe calling for solid pack canned pumpkin.

NOTE: Don't let your cooked pumpkin set at room temperature longer than two hours in the process of making puree.

Sarah Phillips, The Healthy Oven Baking Book, Doubleday, 1999

VARIATIONS
Sweet Potato or Yam Puree *Sweet potatoes are sometimes called yams.
To cook the sweet potatoes for a recipe: 

Instead of pumpkin puree, you can use cooked sweet potatoes, peeled, boiled, drained, mashed, and cooled.

Used with our Sweet Potato Orange Yogurt Tart recipe.

To make 1 cup:
1. Place 4 medium or two large orange-fleshed sweet potatoes (yams) in a large saucepan and cover with lightly salted cold water.
Bring to a boil over high heat. reduce the heat to medium and cook until the sweet potatoes are tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife, about 30 to 45 minutes.
Drain and rinse under cold water until easy to handle.

or
1. Pierce potatoes all over with tines of a fork.
Bake at 375 degrees F until tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife.

2. Peel and mash the potatoes.  Push through a fine mesh strainer to remove any strings; discard.
Refrigerate to chill or set aside to cool at room temperature before using in this recipe.


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