Homemade Pumpkin Puree With Minimal Waste

Homemade Pumpkin Puree With Minimal Waste

Come October, I love going pumpkin picking. I also love visiting my local plant nursery and grabbing a few pumpkins there! Recently, I found a beautiful cheese pumpkin, which is ideal for making pumpkin pie with. I have fond memories of my mother in the kitchen making homemade pumpkin puree from cheese pumpkins. She’d use the puree in all kinds of homemade goodies like pumpkin cookies, pumpkin bread, and most importantly – pumpkin pie.

This year, it was my first year doing it on my own in Steve and I’s new apartment. It was exciting, but a little daunting, so I called my mom up to ask her for a bit of direction. I won’t lie: Making homemade pumpkin puree from scratch is not super easy. It’s not a five minute process. But it is SO much better than the canned stuff, and the taste is unmatched. Homemade always is right?

Around 1.3 billion pounds of pumpkins are sent to landfill every year. This is your sign to please eat your pumpkins! I love using them for d├ęcor, but at a certain point, I will absolutely cook them. And you should too! Every pumpkin is edible, though some have different textures and slightly varying flavors. For example, cheese pumpkins + sugar/pie pumpkins make a delicious pumpkin pie. Here’s how to make homemade pumpkin puree with minimal waste.

Homemade Pumpkin Puree With Minimal Waste

Homemade Pumpkin Puree With Minimal Waste

Is it worth it to make your own pumpkin puree?

I’d say it’s definitely worth it to make your own pumpkin puree. It’s a great way to use up your pumpkins after you’re done decorating with them. Plus, it’s better for your budget! You already paid for that pumpkin – why not put it to good use instead of wasting money on canned pumpkin?

You also don’t have to worry about any additives or weird preservatives when you make your own pumpkin puree. And while I love my canned goods in a pinch, I feel like it’s generally healthier to reach for fresh produce/ingredients first.

It’s also so fun to do: Play some spooky jams, light a candle, invite your friends over, and get cooking! While you wait for the pumpkin to cook, watch a scary movie! Then you can enjoy the fruits of your labor by baking one of the yummy pumpkin treats listed below…

Can all pumpkins be used for puree?

Generally, yes all pumpkins can be used for puree. Or winter squash! I’d just avoid using the very teeny tiny pumpkins because there’s barely any flesh there, and it may be bitter. And gourds are inedible, just a heads up.

Does homemade pumpkin puree taste better than canned?

Homemade pumpkin puree absolutely tastes better than canned! Especially if you use a cheese pumpkin (pictured below) or a sugar pie pumpkin. Their taste is superior!

My cut-in-to cheese pumpkin! Note the LARGE knife – this was the biggest knife I had and it was still tough to cut into!

Ingredients:

  1. 1 large pumpkin (cheese or sugar pie are my go-tos)
  2. Water (for boiling the pumpkin)

Note: Please support your local farmers and growers! Even better if you get it from an organic farm/stand. This will help your local economy, plus reduce transport emissions. You can also use this same recipe/process for kabocha squash puree.

Homemade Pumpkin Puree With Minimal Waste

Directions:

  1. Begin by doing the most difficult thing: Cutting your pumpkin. You’re going to want to use the biggest knife you have!
  2. Once it’s cut up into chunks, start de-gutting it. You can set aside the seeds to make homemade pumpkin seeds if you like. If not, compost them alongside the guts and stringy parts.
  3. Put your pumpkin chunks into a big pot or two. Mine was big enough to need two pots. You may even need three! Fill it with water so most of the pumpkin chunks are covered, then bring to a boil.
  4. Once boiling, set the water to a simmer. It’ll take approximately 30 minutes from here for the pumpkin to soften, but you’ll want to keep checking it with a fork. Once it’s softened to the touch, drain the water (you can save it, let it cool, and feed it to your plants).
  5. Place the cooked pumpkin in a bowl and let it cool a bit. Then, peel away the skin, or scoop out the flesh from the skin and into a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth and store in the fridge or freezer!
Homemade Pumpkin Puree With Minimal Waste
Delicious cottage cheese pumpkin pancakes (recipe I used here)! High on protein + super fluffy!

How to use homemade pumpkin puree

Pumpkin puree can be used for all kinds of recipes! The first recipe I used it in was pumpkin pancakes (pictured above – they were SO good)!

Here are some other pumpkin recipe favorites of mine:

There are so many delicious options! Feel free to get creative – these are just a few I could think of off the top of my head.

FYI, pumpkin puree will keep in the fridge about a week, and several months in the freezer. You can freeze it in a mason jar to reduce waste. I stored mine in two mason jars and I also upcycled a jam jar for the extra puree that wouldn’t fit. I’m still amazed the pumpkin made as much as it did!

So, will you attempt to make your own homemade pumpkin puree? Let me know in the comments!

Also, if you love pumpkins, check out these 6 zero waste uses for pumpkins!

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By Ariana Storniolo (Palmieri)

Ariana Storniolo is the founder of Greenify-Me, a blog dedicated to zero waste and sustainability. Her work has also been featured on Going Zero Waste, Green Matters, Mother Earth Living and several other online publications.

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