Making your own pumpkin puree is really pretty easy and totally worthwhile. It can be used to make pumpkin pies, pastries, as well as smoothies and even chili. For this recipe it’s best to use medium sized “baking” pumpkins rather than Halloween “carving pumpkins” as they have a little more sweetness. However regular pumpkins work too if you have some on hand that need to be used for something other than just becoming a jack-O-lantern.
Cut the top off like you would a Halloween pumpkin but leave a smaller hole as you cut around the stem. Cut pumpkin in half and then scrape out all the seeds from the two sides, saving the seeds if you intend to make baked pumpkin seeds. This would be the place for me to include a baked pumpkin seed recipe but I am not going to do that because I just hate them so much to be honest, others seem to like them but not me. Okay, moving on.
Next cut down the 2 chunks again and then around the middle ending with 4-8 chunks, see pic.
Place oven rack in middle position and heat to 375.
Place chunks skin side down on a sided baking sheet (make sure the sheet has sides and the pieces don’t hang over the edges as liquid will render as they cook). Cook for around 60 minutes, give or take depending on the size of the pumpkin walls. Check periodically by inserting a fork into the pumpkin meat. It should slide in easily. This is a rare occasion where it is better to overcook than under so make sure the pumpkin is well cooked through.
Some liquid will likely pile in the middle of the concave area of the pumpkin, this should be reserved rather than drained off as it helps the puree process.
Remove from oven and give it plenty of time to cool so it’s easy to work with, about 30 minutes. The slices will reabsorb most of the liquid as they cool but if there is any moisture left over simply drizzle it off into the food processor first.
Next, depending on the variety of pumpkin the skin may be removed easily by simply peeling it. Otherwise the meat will need to be scraped out with a spoon. Either way, remove the meat and place directly into a food processor and puree as much as possible. Stir to check for unblended pieces and continue until it is nice and pureed. Remove puree and add to containers.
Pumpkin can be canned but is easiest to just store in the fridge for the short term or to freeze for longer as this ingredient is seasonal and I doubt you will be feeling the need to make pumpkin pie in the summer.