Never worry about a pumpkin shortage around Thanksgiving or any other day for that matter! This is ridiculously easy to make and freezes beautifully.
You want to use pie pumpkins. Sometimes they are also called sugar babies or other new small sweet variety that’s hip that year. They are smaller than the decorating pumpkins, but have thicker walls of flesh making more puree for your time and effort. You can use the larger pumpkin and don’t forget to save any toast the seeds from any pumpkin you use.
After you’ve washed the pie pumpkin to remove any dirt (or pesticides if it’s not organic), poke holes in it with a fork.
Then place the pumpkin in your slow cooker and cook on low 7 to 9 hours. It may be done earlier, but it won’t hurt it to stay in the slow cooker longer.
I have it pictured below in my Hamilton Beach 3-in-1 which I use alot making tomato and pumpkin puree. I can choose either the 4 or 6 quart insert depending on how tall the pumpkin is. I can even cook a jack-o-lantern pumpkin in the 6 quart one!
It’s true – you don’t have to spray your slow cooker with oil or wrap the pumpkin in foil. You can spray some oil if you’re really worried about clean up. But I find it’s just as hard to clean off the oil as it is any juices that cook out of the pumpkin.
Either way you decide to do it, after your done, soak the crock filled with a soapy water overnight and it will look like new. I’ve done some serious burned-on food in my experiments and worse-case Cheryl used bar keeper’s friend to clean it up. (She’s the genius in the cleaning department.)
Make sure to let the pumpkin cool before you cut into it. If not, you will get scalded from the steam that comes out. If you cook it while you are at work, just let it cool until after dinner.
Cut it in half and gently scoop out the seeds and guts. Some of the flesh will stick to the guts, so make sure to snag it where necessary.
Save the seeds because you can toast them even though they have been cooked and you’ll have a perfect snack or soup garnish.
After all that effort you’ll have a bowl of pumpkin flesh that only needs to be smashed with a spoon to puree completely.
I don’t drain it, and it is a little thinner than canned pumpkin. But don’t fret, it works just fine for all your pumpkin puree needs. Oh – and it’s much tastier than canned pumpkin too!
Now you can cook enough to use all winter long and freeze it. I freeze some in ice cube trays so I can throw a couple into my slow cooker oatmeal!