Pumpkin Pie From Real Pumpkin- Part 1

For about a year, there’s been a canned pumpkin shortage due to a poor pumpkin harvest last fall. I spoke to my sister about a month ago, and she was wailing and gnashing her teeth because she was not going to be able to have pumpkin pie this year on Thanksgiving. The shortage has since ended, so there’s plenty of canned pumpkin back in the stores. But in the meantime, I got to thinking: Why not make a pie using real pumpkin? This time of year there are pumpkins everywhere you look, so why go into panic mode if it’s not available in a can? So I did some research, figured out how to cook and prepare the pumpkin for pies, and found it was so easy I wondered why I hadn’t done it before.

Pumpkin pies have been around since the 1600s.  In 1639, one pilgrim wrote:

“For pottage and puddings and custard and pies,
Our pumpkins and parsnip are common supplies:
We have pumpkins at morning and pumpkins at noon,
If it were not for pumpkins, we should be undoon”

So here’s how to make a pie using a real pumpkin. First, get a pumpkin specifically for baking. The large pumpkins for carving are a different kind of pumpkin: tougher and have less flavor. I found so-called “pie pumpkins” at our local Wal-Mart.

Wash the pumpkin with plain water. Using a serrated knife, cut the pumpkin in half.

Remove the seeds and dark orange stringy stuff. I found an ice cream scoop works best for this.

Cut off the stem. Now you’re ready to cook the pumpkin. You can cook it on the stove, in the microwave, or in the oven. I chose the microwave. Put the pumpkin in a microwave safe dish with a couple inches water. I had to cut one of the halves again to make it all fit.

Cover, and cook 10-15 minutes, or until the pumpkin is soft and can be easily removed from the rind.

Using the ice cream scoop, remove the pumpkin from the rind.

The last step is to puree the pumpkin. You can do this with a blender, hand mixer, or stick blender. Here’s what the finished pumpkin looks like.

It can be kept in the fridge for 5 days, or frozen for 6 months.

Tomorrow, I’ll show how to make a pumpkin pie with homemade pie crust. See ya’ tomorrow!

~~~~~~~~~~

32 comments to Pumpkin Pie From Real Pumpkin- Part 1

  • Tina

    Does it taste the same? It is such a light color. Why is canned pumpkin so dark?

    • Suzanne

      Hi Tina,
      It tasted like canned pumpkin, only BETTER. More flavor and a fresher taste. Hard to explain, but I really liked it more than the canned. Don’t know why it is lighter in color, but it baked up to look the same as canned.

  • Kit

    Great post!

    One thing I do is bake my pumpkin and sometimes that helps to deepen the color of the pumpkin, but most of the time it depends on the variety of pumpkin that is used. Light pumpkin makes delicious pies!!!

    Thanks!

    Kit

  • The canned pumpkin has the seasoning in it doesn’t it?

    Thank you for the idea of doing this! My aunt used to prepare fresh pumpkin pie for the holidays when I was a child. Can’t wait to see yours … then I’m going to try my hand at it! :-)

    • Suzanne

      Hi Lesley Ann,
      Pumpkin Pie Filling has pumpkin and spices, while Canned Pumpkin has just the pumpkin without the spices.
      Do try making a pie with the fresh pumpkin. It’s really delish.

  • Here in New Zealand I have never seen such a thing as ‘canned pumpkin’ To us that would be a completely weird product. Why would you do that. We eat lots of pumpkin, roasted is great. And pumpkin soup.

  • Can’t wait to see the finished product!

  • Chester's Mom

    How do you suppose the pilgrams cooked the parsnips? My grandmother used to grow them but that was so long ago I can’t remmeber how they were fixed.
    Oh, do you think Kerry would tell us how to make pumpkin soup?

    • Suzanne

      Hi Chester’s Mom,
      My guess is the parsnips would be boiled or baked. I’m not sure.
      I sent a comment to Kerry about the pumpkin soup as I would like to give it a try also.
      Thanks.

  • Suzanne, I am all for this! You did a fantastic job and I think everyone should experience making pumpkin puree. Last Fall I did this for the first time. I bought about 4 or 5 sugar pumpkins and cooked them all down just like you did, pureed them and froze them in one cup increments. I had enough pumkin to last me through the year. In fact I just used my last portion a couple weeks ago and it tasted as fresh as the first batch. I am totally hooked and I will be doing this again this Fall. No more canned pumpkin for me! So glad you did this post…I love it! I’ll be doing a similar post on my blog very soon so I hope you don’t think I’m copying! ha ha ha!! Homemade is the best!

    • Suzanne

      Hi Bonnie,
      I just don’t know why I haven’t done it before. It wasn’t hard at all, and such a satisfying thing to do. I like knowing exactly where my food has come from.

  • Vicki Madden

    I totally didn’t realize there was a different kind of pumpkin for cooking ( than carving). Thanks for the info. My hubby has made the puree several times and we dicided that the canned was better; however, we just used the ones that were left after carving. Maybe that was our problem.

    • Suzanne

      Hi Vicki,
      Yes, there’s definitely a difference between pumpkins. Some are edible and others, blech, not so much. Do try again with a Pie Pumpkin. It’s really worth the effort.
      Thanks.

  • I love the fresh pumpkin for pies. It has been many years since we’ve had canned pumpkin. I always try to grow some. I use a variety that is good for both baking and carving.

  • Try this link for roast pumpkin soup

    http://www.exclusivelyfood.com.au/2006/07/roast-pumpkin-soup-recipe.html

    There are lots of other recipes on google. Also look at ‘images’ fro roast pumpkin salad.

    There is reason to roast rather than boil, or heaven forbid, microwave. the taste is much better, and you get some caramelisation which is devine.

  • Kristi

    Hi Suzanne,
    My daughter is 23 and wants to make a pumpkin pie from REAL pumpkin. Sadly, I have always used canned. I can’t wait to show her this post. Thanks!
    Kristi

  • Kelly H.

    How long and at what temp would you bake the pumpkin in the oven? We don’t have a microwave (old one died and we have been doing fine using our stove, oven and toaster oven) I’ve always wanted to make pumpkin pie from fresh pumpkin instead of canned, but never knew how to do it. Now, where to find pie pumpkins in Northern Virginia. . .

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  • Jo

    I live in Australia and we have never heard of canned pumpkin. When using it for a vegetable with meat I normally steam or roast it (peeled and cut into serving size pieces). When we were kids (and when my kids were small) I used to boil the pumpkin pieces (peeled) till soft, mash, add butter and lemon juice and until they got used to the taste I often combined it with mashed potato for the children (yellow potato!!)
    Pumpkin soup is a staple winter soup and I make the easiest one without a recipe. Just peel and cut pumpkin into two inch size cubes (roughly), cut up a couple of onions, just cover with water, add vegetable stock powder and some Thai Green curry paste and cook till soft. Use a stick blender to puree the onions and pumpkin, add a tin of coconut cream and you have the most delicious soup. The amount of soup you make depends on how big the pumpkin is. I usually use a whole pumpkin and make a very large pot of soup. It freezes well too.

    • Suzanne

      Hi Jo,
      Thank you for sharing your recipe for soup. Sounds like wonderful comfort food. After learning how to make pumpkin purree, I’ll never use canned again if I can help it.
      Thanks again,
      Suzanne

  • Kim

    For those of you that grow pumpkins….how o you keep the deer from eating the blooms or destroying the fruit?

  • Carrie

    I love to add pumpkin to my smoothies. It is delicious.

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