Ahhhh, winter squash season! I’ve already rambled on and on about my love of fall and pumpkins (and my loathing for the pumpkin spice craze), as well as talked up the many uses of homemade pumpkin puree. I even made a batch of kabocha squash puree for baked goods earlier this morning!
But what I realized, to my shock and awe, that while I’ve talked up squash puree in several posts, I never really, errr, actually told you how to make it yourself. Oops! So, today I will correct this mistake, and you’ll never be stuck without pumpkin or squash puree for all of your fall and winter baking and cooking needs (and won’t be at the mercy of the Thanksgiving cooking hordes buying all of the canned stuff off the shelf. You’re welcome).
One thing I will say about homemade puree: in my experience, it tends to have a bit more moisture than the canned varieties, and also can separate if you don’t use it immediately. Both of this issues are easily remedied by being judicious with your addition of liquids in recipes (such as milk, cream, butter, oil, etc.), and giving it a good stir before using it, respectively.
Other than that, you’ll never find as fresh and tasty a puree as one you make yourself, especially with some local ripe squash. Get yourself to a farmer’s market, buy a winter squash, and make some puree!
Homemade Pumpkin Puree
This recipe works for all kinds of winter squash, not just pumpkins! Try it with butternut squash, kabocha, and other hardy varieties. If you are using pumpkins, make sure you’re using the smaller pie pumpkins, as Halloween carving pumpkins will have too much water and not enough flavor.
you will need:
- any variety of winter squash
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Remove any long stems from the squash, if possible. Cut the squash in half, and scoop out the seeds and stringy pulp from the middle, being careful not to scrape the squash flesh too much. (You can rinse the seeds and roast them, too!).
- Place the squash halves on a baking sheet (preferably lined with a Silpat or parchment paper for easy cleaning), cut side down.
- Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the size of your squash. The squash is done when the flesh is fork-tender. Remove and cool on a wire rack until cool enough to handle (or completely cool – it’s just a bit easier to scoop when the squash is still a bit warm).
- Using a large spoon, scrape as much of the soft flesh from the skin as possible into a bowl or into a blender cup. (You will likely need to blend in batches.) Add just enough water to the squash in the blender to allow for, well, blending; I found that I needed a cup for each half of a medium-sized kabocha squash, but some varieties have more moisture than others, so add water gradually so you don’t end up with squash soup!
- Store puree in airtight containers. The puree will keep for up to a week in the fridge, and for a few months in the freezer.