Anyway, thanks to PInterest, my eyes were opened: 'hey, homemade pumpkin puree looks pretty darn easy, inexpensive and good!' I made my first batch last night -- along with some pumpkin bread using my fresh puree -- and I am here to tell you that I will never go back to canned pumpkin! The taste difference is pretty remarkable and I can't wait to try the fresh puree in all of my other pumpkin recipes...pumpkin pie -- oh my!
The process is VERY easy and the rewards are... well, delicious!
-PreHeat Oven to 350 degrees.
-Line a rimmed cookie sheet with tin foil and spray with cooking spray.
-Cut your Pie Pumpkin* in half and scoop out the seeds and stringy bits
-Place each half of the pumpkin face down (skin side up) on the cookie sheet
-Cover the pumpkin halves with more tin foil
-Place the cookie sheet in the oven and bake for 60-90 min -- pumpkin is done when you can pierce the skin easily with a skewer and the flesh is soft.
-Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and let cool until pumpkin can be handled safely.
-Flip the cooked pumpkin halves over and scoop out the flesh from the skin (this should be very easy, like scooping butter) and place in a large bowl.
-Mash the pumpkin flesh with a potato masher or fork.
-Use your pumpkin puree right away or store in glass canning jars and place in the freezer for later use! That's it!
*A pie pumpkin can be found at your local grocery store -- they are smaller sized pumpkins, usually around 8 inches in diameter and have more flesh and a less stringy texture than their larger Jack-o-Latern brothers. Although, you may be able to find these smaller pumpkins at your local patch too, that is where I found the one I used.
In the mean time, all of this talk of baby food and purees had made me miss these two little roly-poly baby faces...