Oct 8, 2017

LaVerna's Cooked Pumpkin Puree

My grandma, LaVerna, 'don't call me Vernie', had a way of making a cooked pumpkin that is to die for, and from what I understand it's not very common. I found out about it when I asked my mom how to make pumpkin puree for the holidays. (I had an abundance that year and had 0 experience outside of making jack-o-lanterns and roasting the seeds.) She said I could chop it up and boil it or I could make it like her mom did. Me being me, I went straight to grandma. I've been making it this way since. In fact, it wasn't until Dad R. was making puree for his famous pies that I was reminded that boiling is probably the most popular way to make it. Now, his pies and his pumpkin bread are amazing no matter what puree you use, his, grandma's, or even canned. I tend to think my grandma's pumpkin puree adds just a bit of something you can't get any other way, but I'm just a teensy bit partial. I figure with it being the pumpkin spice everything time of year and the holidays not far behind that I would add this family favorite. Of course, I'll add his recipes in the coming weeks. You really will love them.

baked in a dutch oven
what it looks like after being mashed

You can use any pumpkin for this, of course, the smaller pie pumpkins will be sweeter, but I've used the huge ones with great results too. It just depends on what you have on hand.

You will need:
1 pumpkin
apple juice
roasting pan or for smaller pumpkins, a cast iron dutch oven will do

Clean the pumpkin by taking the top off and scooping out the seeds. (Save those puppies to roast later.) Put the pumpkin into the roasting pan or dutch oven and pour an inch or so of the apple juice. Put the top of the pumpkin back on. Cook that bad boy in a preheated 350° oven until the flesh is soft. I usually start checking about the time I start smelling it, usually about 30 or so minutes. The flesh will be burnt looking in places, but the insides will be velvety soft, and sweet. Cooks, of course, must sample the goods, just be careful, it's hot! (We won't discuss how many times I have repeated this particular lesson. *whistling innocently*) Let it cool, before you start scraping the flesh from the skin, and be gentle, you don't want the rind to end up in the final product. Mash the pulp with a potato masher, if it's not too liquid I like to add some of the remaining juices from the pumpkin. I will just adjust my recipes accordingly later on. Once it's cooled and mashed store them in a Ziploc freezer bag and freeze. I've been known to have a bag or so left by next season with no issues. I honestly don't know if it will last longer than that as I've never had any to do so.

zipped and ready to freeze, don't forget to label it

I have used this method to puree pumpkin for over 15 years now with no issues. I've made muffins, pancakes, pies, cheesecakes, empanadas, and bread all with wonderful results. Enjoy!


  1. I typically freeze it in individual baggies in exactly the measurements I need for the pumpkin pie and pumpkin bread recipes.
    Another variation on the puree is to cut the pumpkin in quarters and place them skin side up on a baking sheet with no water. Often the skins will go dark brown, but the contents are fine.

    1. I really like the individual baggie idea. It would certainly make things a little cleaner when trying to thaw out only a cup or so. I also like the baking sheet idea for using the pumpkin in recipes that I'd not want the added sweetness from the apple juice. :)