Learn how to prepare fresh pumpkin puree for use in all types of sweet and savory recipes from pies to cookies, soups, and pasta dishes.

How To Prepare A Fresh Pumpkin

The pumpkin is undoubtedly one of the most beloved edibles of the fall. Used in a variety of recipes, both savory and sweet, pumpkins are a versatile vegetable that lend rich flavor to recipes for soups, pasta dishes, muffins, cakes, pies and more.

Pumpkins are a healthy ingredient too, as they’re a good source of dietary fiber, vitamin A and potassium.

Shopping for pumpkins

If you live in cooler climates, October is a great month to visit pumpkin patches and pick out pumpkins to cook with or carve for Halloween. You’ll want to avoid cooking with the very large jack-o-lantern variety though – they’re a bit too stringy and give off too much water.

Smaller pumpkin varieties are more tender and flavorful, so those are the ones you want to choose for cooking. Choose blemish-free pumpkins that feel rather heavy for their size.

Whole pumpkins can be stored at room temperature for 3 to 4 weeks, and in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 months.

How to make fresh pumpkin purée

It’s simple to prepare fresh pumpkin for purée. Just cut the pumpkin into wedges and remove the seeds and fibers.

Place the wedges in a roasting pan with a little water, cover with foil and roast at 400°F until the flesh is very tender – about one hour.

Once cooled, it’s easy to peel off the skin and puree the flesh in a food processor.

Yield: A 2-1/2 to 3-pound pumpkin will yield between 1-1/2 and 2 cups of purée.

Storage: Pumpkin purée can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen in an airtight container for up to 10 months.

Store-bought pumpkin purée

If you’re not up for tackling a fresh pumpkin, don’t hesitate to use store-bought – it’s a big time saver.

Our favorite brand is from Farmer’s Market Foods in Oregon. Their Organic Pumpkin Purée is packed in both BPA-free cans and aseptic cartons and is available in supermarkets across the country. We’ve used it for several years now and found it to be a consistently great product.

Tip: You can also successfully substitute butternut squash for pumpkin in many savory dishes.

Pumpkin Recipes

Here are some of our favorite pumpkin recipes using.