homemade pumpkin puree and toasted pumpkin seeds

Last week we took a trip to a cute pumpkin patch close to our house. The girls had a great time running around and looking at all the pumpkins. My toddler Lizzy insisted on sitting on every pumpkin she found, and it was hilarious. We had a great time!

While we were there, I picked up some cute sugar pumpkins for making puree. 

Pumpkin puree is so easy to make! Here are some step by step pictures for you:

First, lop the stems off the pumpkins (it really helps if you have a sharp knife).

Cut the pumpkins in half, top to bottom.

Scoop out the insides (and save your pumpkin seeds for later!). I used a cookie scoop and found that it worked well, and used kitchen shears for some stubborn stringy bits.

When they’re all clean, put them facedown on a baking sheet, and add about 1/4 inch of water around them. Bake at 350 for 60-90 minutes (mine were great after 70 minutes).

When they’re done, you should be able to easily slide a fork in.

Let them cool for a little while so you don’t burn yourself, then scoop out all the yummy pumpkin meat. I used my cookie scoop again, and it worked great.

Puree in a blender or food processor until smooth. I used my Ninja and it did great. If it’s too thick and hard to puree, add a small amount of water to loosen things up.

Depending on how watery your pumpkins are, you may have a lot or just a little extra water. Add the puree to a colander lined with paper towels over a bowl or pot, and let drain for 30 minutes to an hour. I ended up draining about 1 1/2 cups water total out of my puree.

When the puree is drained, put it in an airtight container, and refrigerate for up to five days, or freeze it. I used freezer quart-sized bags, and added 1 cup of puree to each, to make it easy to pull out for recipes. I think one cup plastic canning containers would be awesome for this, but I didn’t have any on hand. Use it in any recipes that call for canned pumpkin. I got about 7 cups of puree from my three small sugar pumpkins.

As for your pumpkin seeds, of course you need to toast them! I separated mine out from all the gunk, rinsed them well, and let them dry on a baking sheet for a few hours. Then I tossed them with a little olive oil, and sprinkled with salt. Bake at 250 for about an hour (I did about 70 minutes, because they weren’t as crisp as I wanted at an hour).

My five year old went nuts for the seeds and couldn’t stop munching on them. We love all the yummy tastes of fall!

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