If you’ve ever tried to roast pumpkin at home and had watery, stringy or tasteless results, don’t give up! These tips will help you make sweet, creamy, smooth homemade pumpkin puree.
Pick a pumpkin variety that is known for good flavor and texture
Leave the really big pumpkins for jack-o-lanterns and the miniature ones for fun fall decorations. My favorite pumpkin variety is Winter Luxury, an heirloom pumpkin that is known for it’s smooth & sweet flesh. Other great varieties are Buttercup squash, Rouge Vif D’Etampes (a.k.a the Cinderella pumpkin!), and Long Island Cheese.
Cure your pumpkin
Almost all commercially sold pumpkin, even from farmer’s markets, isn’t cured properly. The taste and texture are SO much better in cured pumpkin. One benefit of growing your own pumpkins is that you can make sure this step happens!
Most small sugar or pie pumpkins (like Winter Luxury) are from the Cucurbita pepo variety. When cured in the sun for 1-2 weeks, the pumpkins lose water through evaporation and develop sweeter flesh. Other squash and pumpkins from the Cucurbita maxima variety need about a month to cure. Curing also helps pumpkin and squash to store better if you want to save them for later!
Use an ice cream scoop to remove the seeds
After you rinse your pumpkin and use a sharp knife to cut it in half, use an ice cream scoop to easily remove the pulp and seeds. Then, save the seeds and roast them!
Roast pumpkin cut-side down and make cuts in the rind
A lot of roast pumpkin recipes call for either roasting it whole and making cuts to release steam, or cutting it in half. But by doing both, more water will evaporate and you can avoid watery pumpkin puree which is no good for most pumpkin recipes.
Roast pumpkin at 400ºF/220ºC for 45 minutes to an hour, or until you can poke a knife through the skin with no resistance.
Cool for at least 30 minutes, then scoop out the flesh and puree it in a food processor. Add a little water, if necessary, to get a nice smooth puree! Store pumpkin in air-tight containers in the freezer, or use right away in a delicious pumpkin recipe!
And my final tip: only use this precious, hard-won homemade pumpkin puree in recipes where roasted pumpkin is the star flavor. Pumpkin pie, pumpkin butter or pumpkin soup are great examples!