I’ve never been much of a pumpkin fan. It seems like all the women I know go nutso once fall hits and everything from coffee to cakes to candles start showing up pumpkin flavored. Maybe I’m just so obsessed with chocolate that to think about wasting my dessert calories on a vegetable dessert seems like sacrilege.
Nevertheless, I enjoy baking whether its something I’m going to like or not. In fact, I welcome any outlet for cooking or baking something that I wouldn’t enjoy just because I would never make it otherwise.
I decided to make pumpkin chocolate chip loaf for the Bible study meeting at my house last week. When I saw the pumpkin decorating my front porch I thought, “Why buy a nasty can of pumpkin when I could make my own?”
And so it was that I put an entire pumpkin in my oven, cut it open, and pureed its soft, orange flesh. The smallest pumpkin on my porch, which I received as a gift, made enough puree to match four cans of pumpkin. What a deal! I recommend everyone do this for their pumpkin pies and other fall treats.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Wash your pumpkin throughly to remove any dirt or bugs.
Place it in a large baking dish and pierce it about 8 times with a large knife. Cut deep enough that you feel the knife reach the hollow center. It’s kind of like piercing a baked potato with a fork, but more extreme.
Bake the whole pumpkin in the oven about an hour and a half, or until it is easily pierced with a fork.
Remove from the oven and cut in half. Allow to cool about 30 minutes.
Scoop out the seeds and stringy center. If desired, save the seeds for roasting, otherwise discard the innards.
You have two options for the flesh. You can either use a spoon to scoop the flesh from the skin or you can cut the skin from the flesh. I did a combination of both, whatever was working better on a specific part of the pumpkin.
Place the flesh in a food processor and process until smooth.
The pumpkin puree can be cooled and used immediately or stored in the refrigerator for several days. You can also premeasure it into ziplock freezer bags to be used all winter. One can of pumpkin is equivalent to 1 ¾ cups pumpkin puree. Make sure you allow it to cool thoroughly before sealing and freezing. Also be sure to label it with the contents and date.
Pumpkin puree is also baby food at its finest. Just be sure to check with your doctor first to make sure your baby is ready for solid food.