I know I’m a little late on this post, but fall is finally here…and do you know what that means?!?!? It’s pumpkin season!!! Pumpkin flavored foods (especially baked goods) are on my list of favorites. As a little girl, I remember waking up to the smell of my mom making fresh pumpkin bread; I could eat it daily and never get tired of it. Mom’s pumpkin bread is made with fresh pumpkin puree and a couple of years ago she taught me how to make the puree. Do you know what the best part of the puree is? You can freeze it for up to one year meaning pumpkin flavored treats can be baked year round. Enjoy!
1 Large Pumpkin
(NOTE: It does not have to be labeled for cooking or baking – you can also use the kind you cut into jack-o-lanterns)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Cut pumpkin in half, length wise. then scoop out and discard all the loose stringy flesh and seeds. Remove stem. (NOTE: For a healthy, tasty treat save the stringy flesh and seeds to make baked pumpkin seeds)
Place one half of the pumpkin on a baking pan, flesh side down and poke the skin numerous times with a fork.
Bake 45 minutes to 1 hour 15 minutes, or until a fork can be effortlessly inserted through the skin of the pumpkin (NOTE: Depending upon the size of the pumpkin it will require a longer or shorter baking time – the pumpkin pictured took 1 hour 10 minutes per half)
Remove cooked pumpkin from the oven and let cool 10 to 15 minutes or until cool enough to handle.
Transfer cooled pumpkin half to a clean cookie sheet. Using a fork, scrape the flesh out of the pumpkin and place in the bowl of a food processor or blender. Puree pumpkin until smooth. (NOTE: A hand mixer can also be used to puree the cooked pumpkin; it will be more of a mushy consistency and less smooth than using a food processor or blender, but will also work well in any recipe calling for canned pumpkin)
Use fresh pureed pumpkin within 4 to 5 days, or transfer to a freezer-safe container and save for up to one year. (NOTE: I like to separate my pumpkin into many 1 cup to 2 1/4 cup containers so I only un-freeze what I need for each recipe I make)
The pumpkin pictured yielded 14 1/4 cups of puree.