I used to make pumpkin treats on a regular basis when Michael and I were in school. When he graduated and we moved to the desert in May, I was surprised that I couldn’t find canned pumpkin ANYWHERE. Eventually, I found ONE store that sells organic pumpkin puree for two times what I normally pay, which saved my bacon for a while.
At the checkout line, I asked a clerk if the store would be carrying pumpkin during the fall holiday season. He said that he honestly didn’t know, and didn’t I know there was a pumpkin shortage on?
A few minutes of research later that afternoon, I learned that, yes, in fact, there WAS a pumpkin shortage going on. Libby’s (a primary pumpkin supplier who also supplies to generic store-brand packagers) had experienced a wicked frost and the pumpkin crop was significantly down. Shocking!
I’ve been pleased to see that pumpkin has returned to the shelves of almost all my local grocery stores at least for the holiday season, but I took the opportunity to learn to make my own from fresh pumpkins.
Making your own pumpkin puree is surprisingly easy. I was kind of shocked that more effort wasn’t involved. Plus, this time of year, pumpkins are on sale all over the place and there’s not much price difference in the finished product.
One thing to be sure of is that you are purchasing the proper type of pumpkin. Behemoth carving pumpkins sure look great on the porch, but they don’t work as well for puree or pies. What you’re looking for are the smaller sugar pumpkins and cheese pumpkins (often called “pie pumpkins”) because their flesh is more suited to pumpkin puree.
*sizes of pumpkins will vary, but I found that a 4lb sugar pumpkin yields between 1 1/2-2c of pumpkin puree. The steps are the same no matter what size you’re working with, just be sure to check them during the roasting time for doneness.Print