Friday, November 2, 2012

Making the Most of your Pumpkin: Seeds & Puree

DIY Pumpkin Puree: A Beginner's perspective

Next up is roasting one of my pie/sugar pumpkins. I ended up with 2 as I bought one at the pumpkin patch and then got another one in our farm box last week. I have a couple of experiments to try as I've never attempted to make my own pumpkin puree before-- you have to admit, its pretty easy to just crank open a can..... so I'm following the directions from this page:


First Experiment-- Can you cook/eat a carving pumpkin?? If yes, what does it taste like??:

I cooked up the smallest  of our regular pumpkins -- it was little dude's Halloween pumpkin but we just did those push in decorations-- kind of like Mr. Potato Head, so its not been exposed to dirt & bugs. This was a pretty small pumpkin-- about 3.5 lbs. I prepped and roasted it the same as the directions above, adding time to get it completely cooked. I was pretty easy to get all the guts and seeds out.

After it was cooked and cooled, I peeled both halves. This was a bit of a slow job and pretty messy too. The peel just didn't want to come off easily. Then I pureed half. The result is a very light yellow orange color and is a little bit grainy -- almost like applesauce. The flavor is not very pumpkin-y. It tastes a lot like yellow summer squash to me. I chunked up the 2nd half and I'm deciding if I'm gonna eat it now with a little butter and salt or try to freeze it for later. While seeming perfectly edible as a squash, it's not coming across with any kind of pumpkin color or flavor. Perhaps I'll mix it with some applesauce and a sprinkle of cinnamon to make some new baby food for the little dude!

Edited: I did add in about 1/2 cup or so of unsweetened applesauce and 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon to the puree. It tastes like chunky applesauce to me. Seems like a good way of hiding extra veggies...

Second Experiment-- Does a pie/sugar pumpkin really taste sweeter?? How does homemade puree compare to canned??:

After the regular pumpkin, I cooked up the pie/sugar pumpkin. I found the prep/cleaning a bit more difficult than the regular pumpkin. The seeds were really stuck in the guts and the guts were really tightly stuck to the walls. It took probably twice as long to clean and prep as the other pumpkin (maybe the regular ones are bred for easy carving??). However, that being said, after it was roasted the skin came off like a breeze. I just scooped out the pumpkin like I would if I had made baked sweet potatoes.

After pureeing, the texture, color and flavor of the pie pumpkin is MUCH different. The puree is significantly more orange and thicker/smoother in texture-- again very similar to baked sweet potato. And the flavor is much more pumpkin-y.

I can definitely see/taste the differences and I probably won't bother roasting off a regular pumpkin again. But it sure was interesting to do the experiment!

Regular pumpkin---------Sugar/pie pumpkin

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds!!

I finally got around to cooking the pumpkin seeds from our Halloween pumpkins yesterday. We didn't carve the pumpkins until Weds. afternoon but then were so busy with trick or treating that we didn't have time to bake them off that night. I'm happy to report that letting them sit out in a collander overnight didn't hurt them one bit!  If you haven't gotten around to doing yours yet either or have the seeds saved from making the puree above, I'd recommend following the instructions on this page:

She has it step by step and the only thing I did differently is to have baked them for much, much longer. Maybe I had more seeds? Maybe because they sat overnight? Which ever it was, they seemed to take FOREVER to dry out properly. But now I have a nice jar of crunchies. We'll just have to see if they last more than a day this time!

As always, feel free to comment below!!

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  1. Thank you for doing this! So how did the Pie Pumpkin stand up to organic canned?

    1. Very equivalent in taste and texture. It was MUCH thicker than the carving pumpkin puree. Price point it works out about the same.