I don't know if you noticed, but there has been a pumpkin shortage. For the past two years, it has been very difficult to find canned pumpkin in the stores, and when I have been able to find it, it is incredibly expensive. I'm know I'm a weirdo to go into panic mode when I can't get my hands on pumpkin whenever I want it, but in order to calm my nerves, I've started to make my own "canned" pumpkin every year.
Now that Halloween is over, it's time for my leftover pumpkins to sacrifice themselves for some yummy recipes I have planned for this month. I picked the middle guy, above, out because of the his cool stem, but he's about to get the chop. For best results, only eat pumpkins that are smaller than your child's head. The bigger you go, the more likely you are to have a more stringy and watery puree. I also think the flavor is not as good.
Wash the outside of your pumpkin thoroughly, and then lop off the top so you can scrape out all of the seeds. Cut it in half and lay each half onto a cookie sheet where you have poured one cup of water. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes, or until your pumpkin is totally wilted and the flesh is very tender.
I flipped mine over so you can see how wimpy they look when completely cooked. Let the pumpkin cool for a bit then scrape the pumpkin off of the skin with a large spoon. The next step is totally optional, because my pumpkin was so soft that I could have just mashed it with a fork and it would have been ready to go.
Put the pumpkin in your food processor and puree until smooth. You should not need to add any water.
If your puree is super watery, you can put it in a colander lined with a dish towel or cheese cloth for a day in the refrigerator. This will thicken it up quite a bit. I like to measure mine before I put it in freezer bags, so I know exactly how much is in there when I want to use it in a recipe. My pumpkin came out to three cups, which is exactly what is in a large can.
Pumpkin will freeze for up to six months, but I know mine won't last that long. Pies, bread, soup? Decisions, decisions!!!