Homemade Pumpkin Puree and Pumpkin Bread…YUM!

I have been trying lately to get away from using canned goods as much as we have in the past, and making more of our food the old-fashioned way (hence the canning obsession). Yesterday, we were at a fall festival at a local pumpkin patch, so I thought I would pick some pie pumpkins out and make a homemade pumpkin puree. To be honest, I was looking forward to the cool weather at the end of this weekend (I am a fall kind of girl) and knew that I would start craving pumpkin bread.

I spoke to the owner of the patch and was given some advice. She told me that any pumpkin can be used for making a pumpkin puree, but that smaller “pie” pumpkins were sometimes more rich and sweet than the larger “jack-o-lantern” pumpkins. She also said that her secret for making a pumpkin puree was to use a Long Island Cheese Pumpkin (some people use long neck gourds). I figured I would try it, though I was more than a bit skeptical. It didn’t look like your traditional bright orange pumpkin and I was dubious it would give me the results I was after. She assured me that when I cut open the pale-colored pumpkin, I would be looking at a bright orange flesh. Let’s just say I bought a regular pumpkin as well. 😉

But after researching more about this, using the Long Island Cheese Pumpkin is very common when making pumpkin pie, and when you buy pumpkin pie filling in the can, it is NOT made from your traditional pumpkin, but rather a squash variety. WOW! I’ve been duped for all these years!

We are not really lovers of pumpkin pie here in this house, but my family LOVES pumpkin bread. So, this is what our pumpkin puree efforts will be going toward. I was hoping to get some extra puree to freeze as well, since canning is not a safe form of food storage for pumpkin puree.

I cut the Long Island Cheese roughly in half and scooped out some of its gooey insides (don’t worry, the rest will come out later). Then placed it in a 9×13 baking dish filled with about 1-inch of water, with the seed-side in the water. Next, I baked it at 375 degrees, uncovered for about 1 hour. You’ll know it’s done when you poke at the skin and you can tell that underneath it is soft. At this point, take the pumpkin out of the oven and let it cool off.

When cool, scoop the remaining seeds and stringy insides out.  You can save the seeds to toast or throw them out. Or…you can plant some pumpkin seeds right in the middle of your front yard like C and G did and one year later you may have a big ole’ pumpkin plant. :-) Then scoop the mushy insides out and place them in a food processor to puree. From this pumpkin I was able to get enough puree for 2 batches of my pumpkin bread recipe (one to use now and one to freeze for later).

Now it’s time to make some delicious pumpkin bread! This is exactly what I want to do when it is 45 degrees outside and a bit overcast. No, I am not being facetious, it really is exactly what I want to do. :-) The bonus is that my family LOVES when I make pumpkin bread. They love to help, they love the smell, and then they love the taste that it brings for the week to come as they eat it at or after nearly every meal.

I had always used a hand-me-down recipe from a good friend of mine, but quite honestly we made so much of this every fall, eating it multiple times a day, that I really wanted to make that recipe more health conscious. So, I did. And I have to say, this new-found recipe is quite delicious and the texture (which I was worried about with changing nearly everything in the recipe) turned out fantastic. So, here it is:

A Vintage Sweet and Healthy Pumpkin Bread

1 3/4 cups of homemade pumpkin puree                                              2/3 cup water

2 whole eggs + 3 egg whites                                                                 3 cups sugar

1/2 cup vegetable oil                                                                            1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup homemade applesauce                                                            2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking soda                                                                                 1 tsp ground nutmeg

1 1/2 tsp salt                                                                                        3/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground cloves                                                                           1/4 tsp ground ginger

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease your choice of pans. For me this recipe makes 1 loaf pan, 1 mini loaf pan, 6 muffins, and 12 mini muffins (AKA, these are the pans I have and this recipe fills them). In a large bowl, mix pumpkin puree, eggs and egg whites, oil, applesauce, water, and sugar until all blended together. In another large bowl, mix the rest of the dry ingredients together. Stir bowls together until just blended. Pour into your choice of pans. Bake for respective times. It usually takes upwards of 50 minutes for the loaf pan, 15 min. for the mini muffins, 18 min for the regular muffins, and 20 min for the mini loaf pan. But it is done when a toothpick comes out clean.

I hope that you enjoy eating this pumpkin bread as much as my family and I do. You can feel really good about adding a healthier version of a classic fall treat to your recipe cards. Even if you do eat it a few times a day (I don’t know anyone that could do that ;-)).
I would love to hear how yours turns out or any variations you come up with!!


About Lauryn Blakesley

A woman out to explore, celebrate, and enjoy everything that my community and living locally has to offer. Blessed with three beautiful children and an incredible husband, our family embraces adventure while dreaming of what is to come. Lover of knitting, running (although mostly after little ones right now), the color orange, fun accessories, fall, tea, and a clean kitchen floor. I spend my days in awe of my family and trying to teach my three to treat others as they would want to be treated.

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