Ever wonder what to do with pumpkin, besides decorate your front porch on Halloween? Look no further. There are all these beautiful pumpkins for sale this time of year, but for some reason everyone buys canned pumpkin for their pies, cookies, and breads. I'm assuming that's because most people don't know how to turn fresh pumpkins into the easily used puree.
My favorite way is to cut the pumpkin into large sections, removing the seeds, then place the sections fleshdown on cookie sheets (ovens usually can handle 2 cookie sheets at a time on different racks). Set the oven to 375 and roast them for 1 hour - 1 1/2 hours (depending on how ripe and thick your pumpkin is).
The pumpkin is done cooking when the skin peels off easily. Remove the cookie sheets from the oven and let the pumpkin sections cool until they are easy to handle.
When they are cool enough, peel the skin off and place the flesh in a food processor, then puree until you've reached the desired consistency.
Use the fresh pumpkin puree in your recipes, then you'll probably find that you have extra (maybe even a lot extra). Freeze the extra in sandwich bags, 1 1/2 cups per bag (because that's usually the measurments called for in recipes). It makes great food storage and thaws beautifully, just set it out on the counter a couple of hours before you need to use it.
Happy Autumn Everyone!!
By Miriam Barton in promotion for The Pioneer Cookbook: Recipes For Today's Kitchen.