Better than Storebought Pumpkin Puree (WFMW)

I don’t know if there is another pumpkin shortage this year, but I certainly haven’t been able to find any cans of pumpkin on the shelves at my local grocery store. It’s not a big deal, though… I’d actually rather make my own!

Last year, I wrote a quick tutorial on how to make your own pumpkin puree… All you have to do is cut a pumpkin into large chunks and roast it in the oven. Then, scoop the flesh into a blender or food processor and you have puree.  Perfect, right?

Here’s the thing… I love the flavor of the homemade puree. It makes a lovely pumpkin soup and is luscious in a sauce for pasta.  However, when I would try to substitue my puree in a recipe that called for canned pumpkin, it wasn’t quite right.  The canned stuff is always so much darker in color and much thicker.

At first, I tried straining the extra liquid out of my homemade puree to thicken it.  It seemed like a good idea, but it left the puree somewhat bland and tasteless. The more I thought about it, the more it made sense.  Instead of straining out the liquid (which is chock full of pumpkin flavor), what I really needed to do was concentrate it!

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Thickening Homemade Pumpkin Puree

To thicken your homemade pumpkin puree to use in your favorite recipes that call for canned pumpkin (especially in baking), simply reduce it! It works!

Start by roasting your pumpkin (or squash… there are so many lovely varieties this time of year!) and making puree (here’s that tutorial again!). Then, transfer your puree, excess liquid and all, to a large saucepan or skillet.

Heat the puree over medium-low heat.  Bring it to a simmer, stirring frequently to keep the puree from scorching or sticking to the pan.  Continue to simmer until the puree has thickened to the consistency of canned pumpkin.

Allow the thickened puree to cool completely before using it, storing it, or transferring it to an airtight container and freezing.

22 Responses to Better than Storebought Pumpkin Puree (WFMW)

  1. Love this Jen! I made my own pumpkin puree a few years ago and was really disappointed by the results when I baked with it. Your trick would definitely help :)

  2. Perfection, Jen! I’ve always been a little intimidated to make my own for some reason. So simple. Great trick, makes so much sense.

  3. OH thank God!!! The timing of this tutorial could not be better for me. As a fall-obsessed baker living abroad in Spain for the year, I was terrified that pumpkin goods would be out of my reach this year – canned pumpkin straight up does not exist. But now I see how easy it is to make my own, I’ll have to get on that!

  4. I am familiar with that humble smile that one gives when guests commend on how perfect your homemade BBQ sauce is, or fruit puree, catsup, etc…and they ask you what brand…you pause for a little and say, that is homemade, from scratch. Then goes the wide eyes and a mixture of reflex actions that would follow (ultimately, they’ll be asking for the recipe!). I think I’ll be able to give out that smile again with this recipe…Thanks!

  5. I love that shot of the spoon of puree on the dark surface – gorgeous. This is such a handy post. I wouldn’t have though to reduce it. I love baking with pumpkin and I only will use pumpkin puree from scratch. Thanks for sharing!

  6. There is a better way yet to concentrate pumpkin (or squash) puree .. roast the pumpkin, scrape out the meat and liquify it in a blender, then freeze the pulp in cardboard milk containers. After it is hard frozen, take it out and nick a hole in two of the bottom corners and set the milk container in a pan. As the puree melts, the first thing that drains out is water, leaving a highly concentrated puree behind. We worked out this procedure ourselves 25 years ago and have never seen it written up anywhere – but it ought to be shared with the world.