How to Harvest & Process Fresh Pumpkin | Shifting Roots

How to Harvest & Process Fresh Pumpkin

For the longest time I’ve had an irrational fear of processing pumpkins.  It just seemed overwhelming.  How would I cut them?  Why did the guts have to be so gross to deal with?

Then as pumpkin puree climbed to $4 a can, I decided enough was enough.

Save money by making your own pumpkin puree.  I'll show you how to make it.  Then you can use it for healthy recipes, in soup, dessert, cookies, muffins, pancakes, or even as baby food! #pumpkin #puree #healthy #preserving #garden #canning #pumpkins #DIY

In May, I planted one pie pumpkin plant and it produced 8 small pumpkins.  I was thrilled.  I harvested them in September before the early frost, and they ripened beautifully in time for use as Thanksgiving and Halloween decorations.

With Halloween over, it was time to take the plunge.  The first surprise was that it was actually very easy to cut them open.  I didn’t even have to warm them up in the microwave.

Related: Easy Pumpkin and Succulent decoration

Save money by making your own pumpkin puree.  I'll show you how to make it.  Then you can use it for healthy recipes, in soup, dessert, cookies, muffins, pancakes, or even as baby food! #pumpkin #puree #healthy #preserving #garden #canning #pumpkins #DIY

Side note: In order for the pumpkin to be easy to open, you must use a variety that is meant for baking.  Pumpkins meant for jack-o-lanterns will have a much thicker skin and be harder to cut open.

I removed the seeds with a tablespoon and saved them for another project.

Related: 3 Ways to Make Delicious Pumpkin seed snacks

Save money by making your own pumpkin puree.  I'll show you how to make it.  Then you can use it for healthy recipes, in soup, dessert, cookies, muffins, pancakes, or even as baby food! #pumpkin #puree #healthy #preserving #garden #canning #pumpkins #DIY

Cut, Remove the Pumpkin Seeds, and Cook

I lined up the pumpkin halves on my baking sheet and cooked them at 375 for around an hour.  Your times will vary depending on the size of your pumpkins.  When I could easily stick a fork in them and the thiner ones were starting to slightly break apart, I declared them done and took them out to cool completely.

Related: Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Icing

Save money by making your own pumpkin puree.  I'll show you how to make it.  Then you can use it for healthy recipes, in soup, dessert, cookies, muffins, pancakes, or even as baby food! #pumpkin #puree #healthy #preserving #garden #canning #pumpkins #DIY

Add Water and Blend

I don’t have a food processor or particularly large blender, so I roughly broke up the pieces by hand, added 1/2 cup of water, and used my immersion blender.  If you are using a larger blender, you don’t have to add the water, but I was concerned about overwhelming the motor of mine.

Not sure what to do with the vegetables you’ve grown this year?  Get my 4-page cheat sheet below to help you out.

Save money by making your own pumpkin puree.  I'll show you how to make it.  Then you can use it for healthy recipes, in soup, dessert, cookies, muffins, pancakes, or even as baby food! #pumpkin #puree #healthy #preserving #garden #canning #pumpkins #DIY

Pumpkin Puree with Little Effort

I ended up processing four batches and got 13 bags of pumpkin with 1 1/2 to 2 cups each in them.  (Sorry friends, I’m just not a huge fan of measuring!!  I admire those of you who are!!)  If one bag=1 can of store puree, the savings is $52.  Not bad for something that takes about an hour of actual work.  (I’m not counting the time in the oven.)

Save money by making your own pumpkin puree.  I'll show you how to make it.  Then you can use it for healthy recipes, in soup, dessert, cookies, muffins, pancakes, or even as baby food! #pumpkin #puree #healthy #preserving #garden #canning #pumpkins #DIY

My son is a super picky eater because of his sensory issues, and pumpkin is one of the few vegetables that I can generally hide in something he does eat like pancakes or bread.  If you only use pumpkin in one or two recipes a year, just buy a can.  But if you use it more often like I do and enjoy doing this kind of stuff, then growing and processing the pumpkins is worth the savings.

Would you give this a try?  If you have any tips or tricks, please share!  I’m super excited to post the other two pumpkin posts coming up in the next week or so.

Save money by making your own pumpkin puree.  I'll show you how to make it.  Then you can use it for healthy recipes, in soup, dessert, cookies, muffins, pancakes, or even as baby food! #pumpkin #puree #healthy #preserving #garden #canning #pumpkins #DIY

Kristen Raney

Kristen Raney

Kristen is a former farm kid turned urban gardener who owns the popular gardening website, Shifting Roots.  She is obsessed with growing flowers and pushing the limits of what can be grown in her zone 3b garden.  She also loves to grow tomatoes, but oddly enough, dislikes eating them raw.

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Kristen

Welcome!

Hi, I'm Kristen and I help new gardeners learn to grow their own vegetables and beautify their yards. I also share recipes that use all that delicious garden produce. Grab a coffee (and your gardening gloves) and join me for gardening tips, simple recipes, and the occasional DIY, all from the lovely city of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

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