|My kids, Hubbard squash, and Cinderella pumpkin|
Recipe: Homemade Pumpkin Puree
You can use any type of winter squash you like, such as pumpkin, hubbard squash, and butternut squash. Hubbard squash and Cinderella-type pumpkins are my favorites for making pies. They have such a beautiful orange color and much more flavor than your typical big round pumpkin.
This year, I figured out that baking pumpkins whole is the easiest way to cook 'em. It does take a while, but it is so much easier than trying to cut up a raw pumpkin as they are VERY hard before they are cooked.
- Place the whole pumpkins on your oven rack (I placed a cookie sheet underneath just in case of any drips).
- Bake for several hours at 200 degrees F. My 11-pound hubbard squash took about 4 hours to cook, and the others took about 3 hours.
- To test for doneness, wrap your hands with a dish towel and gently squeeze the pumpkins. Check them on multiple sides (and you may even need to rotate the pumpkins partway through if you cook more than one at a time, like I did). If the pumpkins are soft enough to squeeze a bit, then they are done!
- Remove from the oven and place on a cookie sheet or large baking tray (such as a 9X13 glass dish). Carefully use a knife to make a slice down one side of the pumpkin, slicing all the way down to the bottom. This will allow the water and heat in the pumpkin to be released (and I was amazed at how much liquid came pouring out). Let cool for awhile.
- Once cool enough to touch, finish cutting the pumpkin in half. This is amazingly easy to do since the pumpkin has already been cooked. Scoop out and discard the seeds and stringy bits.
- Being careful to not get any of the skin, scoop the soft flesh out with a spoon and place it into a food processor. Let the food processor whir the flesh to make a beautiful puree (and of course this may take several batches depending on the size of your pumpkin and food processor).
- Store the puree in the fridge if it will be used in the next few days. Otherwise, store it in the freezer.