What can you do with leftover pumpkin puree from all your holiday baking? Whether you're using canned or fresh pumpkin puree, if you find yourself with more than you need can't use it within 5 to 7 days, just freeze it.

Pumpkin puree will be fine for about a week in the refrigerator. But if you know you won't be using it up within that amount of time, put it in the freezer to use another time.

Tips for freezing pumpkin puree

canned pumpkin, libby's lid Libby's reminds consumers on the top of its canned pumpkin that leftovers can be frozen. (Photo: Robin Shreeves)

Freezing leftover pumpkin puree is a fairly straightforward process, but here are a few tips:

  • Put leftover pumpkin into a freezer-safe container that's just a little larger than the amount of pumpkin you have. The pumpkin will expand a bit when it freezes, so you don't want to fill the container to the brim.
  • Or, freeze the pumpkin in ice cube trays in measured portions so you'll be able to pull out just the right portion when you need pumpkin puree in a recipe. Once the pumpkin is frozen into cubes, pop them out, put them in a freezer-safe zipper bag, and store in the freezer.
  • Allow pumpkin to thaw in the refrigerator, or use the defrost function on your microwave.
  • The defrosted pumpkin will be watery on top. Stir the water back into the puree before adding it to your recipe.
  • Use the frozen pumpkin puree within three months, according to Libby's. (See photo above.)

Ideas for leftover pumpkin puree

pumpkin cream cheese spread Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese Spread. (Photo: Jaymi Heimbuch)

Here are a few recipes that use a small amount of pumpkin puree, helping to ensure those leftovers get put to good use.

  • Pumpkin Raisin Oatmeal: Pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice make this the ultimate fall oatmeal recipe. Uses 2 1/2 teaspoons of pumpkin puree.
  • Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese Spread: A sweet, creamy, pumpkin pie-like spread that's good on sliced apples, bagels, crackers and more. Uses 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree.
  • Spicy Pumpkin Hummus: Put some pumpkin on the hors d'oeuvres table before dinner by adding it to hummus. Uses 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree.
  • DIY pumpkin face mask: No one said you have to eat the leftover puree to make sure it doesn't go to waste. Pumpkin is rich in vitamin A, so it works well in a rejuvenating face mask. Uses 2 teaspoons of pumpkin puree.

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.