As soon as the weather starts to cool down in September, we know that it’s officially pumpkin season! Everywhere we go, we see an increase in delicious pumpkin recipes including pumpkin-flavored desserts, pumpkin decorations for Halloween, and of course, delicious pumpkin spiced lattes. In fact, the fruit (yes, pumpkins are technically a fruit,) is so popular this time of year that you may have trouble finding canned pumpkin in your local grocery store! Don’t worry- we’ll show you how to make a homemade pumpkin puree with a few simple ingredients, and how to turn all those seeds you scoop out into a tasty snack.
Whether you can’t find any canned pumpkin in your store or just want to try a DIY version of pumpkin puree, the first step is finding the right pumpkin. Most people don’t think about the difference between jack-o-lanterns and the canned pumpkin we use in recipes, but there is an important distinction between the two!
Types of Pumpkins
1. Carving pumpkins, or field pumpkins, are grown for looks rather than flavor and are best for decorating your front steps on Halloween.
2. Pie pumpkins are smaller and have a sweeter flesh that makes them much more suitable for roasting and baking.
Picking out your carving pumpkins and baking pumpkins separately is important for getting the best results.
How To Choose A Good Pumpkin For Cooking
Now that you know what type of pumpkin to look for, visit your local grocery store or farm stand to buy a few sweet baking pumpkins. Inspect the fruit for any soft spots or insect holes and try to pick a pumpkin that feels heavy for its size to get as much sweet flesh as possible.
Pumpkin Puree Recipe
Once you get your pumpkin in the kitchen, it’s time to roast! Here are some steps to take to make pumpkin puree.
1. The simplest way to prep for baking is to cut the pumpkin in half or quarters
2. Remove the seeds
3. Sprinkle with salt
4. Place cut-side down on a shallow baking pan
5. Place seasoned pumpkin with seeds removed into the oven at 400°F
6. After about 40 minutes at 400°F, the skin should be very soft and tender
7. Wait until your pumpkin has cooled, then scoop the flesh from the skin
8. Put it into a food processor with water and cinnamon
Make this easy Homemade Pumpkin Puree to use in place of canned pumpkin in all of your favorite fall baking recipes!
While your pumpkin is in the oven, you can start working on the seeds that you’ve scooped out and set aside.
Baking Pumpkin Seed Steps
1. Removing the seeds can take some time, but a large spoon or ice cream scoop helps get the job done faster. And although the process may get messy, it can be a fun family activity- young kids will be excited to get their hands a little dirty!
2. Once you have all the seeds out, simply wash them to remove the strings then spread in a single layer on a baking sheet.
3. Next comes the flavoring- and the best part about pumpkin seeds is that you can season with whatever spices you like!
Pumpkin Seed Recipes
Old Bay fans will love snacking on these sweet and savory Old Bay Glazed Pumpkin Seeds.
Other Pumpkin Recipes & Tips
Looking for more ways to use pumpkin this season? Check out all our pumpkin recipes here!
• 10 Pumpkin Pie Spice Recipes To Celebrate The Fall Season
• 6 Ways To Use Canned Pumpkin
• Pumpkin Picking Guide & Top Pumpkin Recipes
• The 5 Secrets To Perfect Pumpkin Pie
• How To Make Pumpkin Butter