i am one of those sick people who loves to watch the summer die. i know, it’s terrible, but what can i say? i just love the fall! one of my all-time favorite things about fall is pumpkin! and no I don’t mean that pumpkin spice bullshit that millions of people are injesting intravenously from everyone’s favorite coffee chain. i’m talking about those delectable little sugar sweet pie pumpkins and sweet meat squash from your local farmer. fresh, whole, delicious, and nutritious pumpkin.
i go to the pumpkin patch every year and, after frolicking through the fields of lovely orange jack-o-lanterns-to-be, i snag as many small blue-green sweet meat squash as i can carry and take them home and milk every last little ounce of pumpkin-y goodness from them.
yup. my favorite kind of pumpkin isn’t even a pumpkin: it’s a blue-green pumpkin-shaped squash that’s designed specifically for EATING. apparently it’s an heirloom almost exclusively available in the great pacific nw. if you can’t get them from your local farm, you can always buy some seeds and grow your own! or, if you’re less crazy than i think you are, you can go ahead and use any old sugar pie pumpkin.
i know what you’re thinking. working with fresh pumpkin can be SUCH a pain! hacking through the thick skin and scraping out the seeds can be a sticky mess. but do not despair! having fresh homemade pumpkin puree at your fingertips just got easier courtesy of your favorite kitchen gadget: the slow cooker!
this is possibly the easiest thing ever, and changed my life almost as much as slow cooker caramelized onions. just oil up a clean pumpkin, slide her on in the crock of your slow cooker, and, yes that’s right! set it and forget it.
slow cooker pumpkin puree
- 6-8 hours cooking time, 15 minutes prep time.
- what you need:
- 1 pumpkin or sweet meat squash, small enough to fit whole into the crock of your slow cooker.
- 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
- slow cooker*
- high powered blender, food processor, or immersion blender
wash and dry pumpkin. using a basting brush or paper towel, coat the exterior of the pumpkin with oil, and place whole into the crock of the slow cooker. set slow cooker on high and cook for 6-8 hours, until pumpkin has begun to shrink and wrinkle. there should be some liquid in the bottom of the crock, this is totally normal and good!
using a spatula or large spoon, transfer the pumpkin to a large cutting board. be careful, it should be slightly fragile and it will be hot! cut the pumpkin in half (as you would an apple) and shiver with excitement when your knife glides through as smoothly as if you were cutting butter.
using a soup spoon, carefully remove the seeds and set aside. be sure not to scrape away usable flesh with the seeds, the pumpkin will be very tender.
scoop the softened flesh out of the pumpkin skin and into the bowl of a food processor or blender. if using an immersion blender, scoop flesh into a medium to large bowl or saucepan. make sure to scrape out as much meat as you can, all the way up to the skin. you want to get as much pumpkin-y goodness as you can!
discard the skin (and seeds if not cleaning and dry roasting) and process/blend the pumpkin on high for 2-4 minutes, until completely smooth and pourable. store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer indefinitely. use in place of canned pumpkin in all your favorite recipes (need some inspiration?).
there you have it, fresh, homemade pumpkin puree with the least amount of effort!
*if you don’t have a slow cooker, you can always halve the pumpkin raw, brush the whole thing with oil, and roast (400 F for 1-2 hours) face-down on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet or in a glass/ceramic baking dish, seeds and all! t