How to Steam and Puree a Pumpkin

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Now that Halloween is officially behind us, it’s time to think about Thanksgiving and all of the sweet treats you might be thinking about baking this month. At the top of the list of Thanksgiving favorites is pumpkin pie! There are probably a million and some odd recipes for pumpkin pie, but if “canned pumpkin” is on the ingredient list, you need to keep looking.

Any good pumpkin pie starts with a delicious pumpkin, that doesn’t fit into a can. Pie pumpkins are available just about everywhere and are smaller than the traditional carving pumpkin and are typically labeled “pie pumpkins.” While using fresh pumpkin isn’t quite as easy as operating a can opener, it’s not difficult either. Thanks to my mom, I grew up on fresh pumpkin desserts where she used a pressure cooker to prepare the pumpkin. But don’t worry, if you don’t own a pressure cooker, you can easily cook pumpkin at home with a few simple tools you probably already have in your kitchen.

When you get your pumpkin home, just give it a quick rinse to remove any excess dirt.

small pie pumpkin

Using a cutting board and a large serrated knife, cut the stem off at the base and slice the pumpkin into quarters.

pumpkin cut in quarters

Using a large, metal spoon, scrape the seeds and stringy layer of the pumpkin into a dish. You may even want to save the seeds for roasting.

scooped pie pumpkin

Next, you’ll want to set up a steamer using a large pot, a strainer that is slightly smaller than the pot and a lid. In the pot, fill it a few inches deep with hot water, place the strainer over it and turn your stove to high so the water will boil. The water level should be just below the strainer so you’re not soaking and boiling the pumpkin. Place your pumpkin quarters (or cut them in half for smaller pieces) inside the strainer and seal with the lid.

steaming pumpkin

Let the pumpkin steam for 20 minutes and check the water level to be sure it doesn’t go dry. Use a fork to test the center of a slice of pumpkin, if it’s still hard, continue to steam for another 20 minutes. The pumpkin is ready when your fork easily slides straight through the flesh into the skin.

Let your pumpkin cool on a bed of paper towels.

straining steamed pumpkin

Once cooled, use a large, metal spoon to scoop the pumpkin into a mixing bowl.

scooping fresh pumpkin

Beat on high speed in an electric mixer for about 2 minutes, until all of the pumpkin resembles applesauce.

kitchenaid pureeing a pumpkin

Now you’ve got fresh pumpkin perfect for making a pie!

fresh pumpkin puree

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  1. Rebecca says

    Yummy! I can’t wait to do this for my pies and pumpkin cookies for Thanksgiving!

  2. says

    I just made homemade pumpkin pies from scratch on Saturday for the first time. Instead of steaming, I baked the pumpkin for 90 minutes. The pies came out DELICIOUS!

  3. says

    Not sure how I ended up on your Blog ~ Ha! ~ But LOVE it! Great header pics too! LOVE all the pumpkin stuff – yummy!! I love ANYTHING pumpkin!! Happy Friday to all!

  4. Virginia says

    I have a quick question, I hope anyway. My mom tried doing this with roasting the pumpkin and she said that she felt she did not get much of the pumpkin, may I ask how much pumpkin you usually get from this technique. I had hoped to do it but missed my chance as I had wanted to take it and freeze it, have you ever done that and if so how did it work out?


  5. AJP says

    I never thout to puree in the stand mixer, what a great idea! Pumpkin is usually always too wet for my food processor and too dry for my blender, so this is perfect. Thanks!!!

  6. Gloria Matthews says

    Just wanted to send a quick note, thanking you for the steps in Steaming the Pumpkin flesh. I started making fresh pumpkin pies in 1970 up until 1990’s then stopped because I started making Yam pies instead. My two grown sons asked for fresh Pumpkin pies for this Thanksgiving and I had to refresh my memory a bit and your steps brought back my confidence. You spelled it out oh so well.

    Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving, Mattie (Gloria) in the NW!