Let’s bake a pumpkin!
First, rinse off your pumpkin to free it of any dust or dirt.
Cut your pumpkin in half. Smaller pumpkins tend to be sweeter, so go for those if you can. They are easier to cut, too! If you pumpkin is on the larger side (like this one) cut in thirds or quarters (or any way you can without cutting yourself!).
Scoop out the guts! This is our favourite part and I always have help from Guppy for this. Of course.
Use a spoon (metal measuring spoons work great here, but a regular metal spoon is fine!) to get out the stringies. Don’t worry – there will be some left and it’s ok.
Place your pumpkin flesh-side down into a large baking dish or roasting pan. Add a little water – a few centimeters or maybe an inch, depending on where you live.
Let’s bake! Put your pumpkin an oven heated to 175°c/350°F until it’s melty-soft (how’s that for some official baking lingo?). This can be from 45 minutes to an hour or more, depending on the size of your fruit (yes, pumpkin is a fruit!). Just check it with the highly technical “stick it with a fork” move. When it’s falling from the peel easily when coaxed by the fork it’s time to take it out of the oven.
It’s hot! Let it cool a little (or use tongs and safety equipment if you’re pressed for time) and use a large metal spoon to scrape the fruit away from the peel. I put it directly into my food processor once it’s cooled. Or a few hours later because I forgot about it cooling and started doing other things…
Wizz away! Your pumpkin might be so soft it only needs a few pluses, that’s how mine usually is. Now just put into airtight containers and freeze! I usually measure out what my favourite recipes use and freeze that quantity – that way I can just thaw what I need as I go. If you do choose to put your purée into the fridge, be sure and use it in 4 or 5 days max!
While I admit feeling envious of you folks living in countries where pumpkin purée can be found in cans, allowing for early spring and summer pumpkin cravings to be assuaged in a hurry, nothing beats making your own pumpkin purée at home. It’s easy, inexpensive and allows you to really know what is in your purée. My main problem is I never freeze enough to last me all year. Actually, it usually only lasts until the end of winter, but that’s ok. This technique works well for any winter squash so don’t limit yourself! Because pumpkins are more rare in my neck of the woods, I often sub various squash for pumpkin and it always works just dandy!
Get ready for some pumpkin recipes!