Harvesting pumpkins or looking for what to do with that jack-o-lantern pumpkin you picked up? Here’s how to make and freeze pumpkin pie filling!
Having your pumpkins stored as ready-to-go filling will make your fall baking quick and easy this year!
Fall’s here, and as cliché as it is, that means pumpkin time! But… is it really just a cliché if pumpkin is legitimately good?
But being a homesteading-type family – or at least being married to a guy who loves to grow orange vegetables, pumpkin season hits a little bit differently.
We’re not necessarily driving to Starbucks for Pumpkin Spice Lattes so much as harvesting and preserving our pumpkins.
Now, you may be thinking, why preserve pumpkins? Aren’t they supposed to last all winter in the cellar?
Good question. The fact is, here in Texas, there are no cellars. And if there were, they wouldn’t be cool and dry enough to store pumpkins in.
Growing up in Tennessee, we actually kept our pumpkins, butternut squashes, and sweet potatoes in bins in our unheated upstairs – unheated as in no-direct heat from our kitchen wood stove, but some indirect heat to keep us (and the pumpkins) from freezing overnight. It worked very well.
And I’m sure further north people really do store their pumpkins in cellars – just not here.
We freeze them.
And honestly, when it comes to Thanksgiving week, it’s nice to have that pumpkin purée all ready to go for pie and dessert making.
So today I’m sharing how to make and freeze pumpkin purée, and not only that, how to make and freeze pumpkin pie filling for quick and easy pie making.
This is one of those prep-ahead recipes that is going to make your Thanksgiving day so much easier and faster. I am all about having food parties that don’t require the cook to miss out on socializing from having spent the entire time cooking, and this recipe helps give you that.
If you want to make plain pumpkin purée, you can just stop short of adding ingredients to your purée, and freeze it right there. I definitely do some of that too! Because there are so many recipes to go in different directions with that pumpkin purée like baked pumpkin donuts, and healthy pumpkin spice smoothies.
But frozen pumpkin pie filling, just like the canned pumpkin pie filling you buy at the store, is great for so much more than just pie.
One of my favorite pumpkin recipes is gluten-free pumpkin crunch cake (sometimes called pumpkin cobbler), which is fancy and decadent, but takes very little time to make because it uses pie filling, eliminating several steps in the process.
A couple of tips for making and freezing pumpkin pie filling:
- Make a big batch. Fill that oven up and make good use of the heat! If you have a lot of pumpkins to get processed, this is a huge time saver as well.
- If your pumpkin is still stringy after mixing in the kitchen aid, use an immersion blender to finish it off. Certain varieties of pumpkin are more prone to stringiness than others. Another option is to just package and freeze it, and use an immersion blender or food processor to mix your pie filling when you go to make the actual pies.
- Watch the video below to if you’re a visual learner! It’s helpful to see the process, and I think it will help understand why I can’t give an exact ratio of pumpkins to pumpkin purée – because there are so many different sizes! We grew a small pie pumpkin variety this year, but if you’re using jack-o-lantern pumpkins, your number of pumpkins to cups of purée is going to be very different!
How to Make and Freeze Pumpkin Pie Filling
- Pumpkin pie spice
For the pumpkin Purée:
- Pre-heat oven to 350º
- Split and de-seed your pumpkins
- Place face-down on a jelly roll pan or cookie sheet (I line mine with parchment paper for easy cleanup.)
- Spray or rub with oil (preferably light olive, coconut, or avocado)
- Sprinkle with salt
- Bake for 30 minutes or until easily pierced with a fork
- Remove from oven and let rest until cool enough to work with
- Remove pumpkin flesh from shells, and place in a stand mixer
- Mix on low to break up the pumpkin, then gradually bring the speed higher to purée
For the filling:
For every 8 cups of pumpkin purée, mix in
- 3 cups sugar
- 4 Tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla
- Divide between four quart-sized freezer bags and seal
- Lay on a flat surface such as a cookie sheet, and freeze
- Use each bag as one can of canned pumpkin pie filling
To make pumpkin pie with your frozen filling:
Preheat oven to 450º, and for each thawed bag of pumpkin pie filling mix in:
- 2 eggs
- 1 12oz. can of evaporated milk
- Pour into prepared pie shell
- Bake at 450º for 10 minutes
- Turn oven down to 350º, and continue baking for an additional 35 minutes
- Let cool before serving.