Pumpkin. Bright. Sweet. Some kind of wonderful. With sweet stuff or in savory stuff. YUM. Even the guts are fun to play with. Anyway, I don’t know how different canned pumpkin from the store is from fresh pumpkin you puree yourself and pop in the freezer, but I like to think that it’s yummier when it’s DIY.
Roasting pumpkins is simple yet somewhat time consuming, but it’s downright fun if you like to be elbow deep in pumpkin guts and seeds. So if you’ve got a lazy Sunday, why not revisit the squeal-inducing childhood indulgence of squishing pumpkin guts in your hands? [No one else was home while I did this, and I couldn’t help but feel a little like a mad scientist and fill the house with bellowing laugh…muahahahahahaha!]…we’ll come back to the seeds another day.
Pop those pumpkin halves face down in a big ol’ casserole dish and add about a 1/4 inch of water. I can’t help but think the halves together kinda look like a baby’s tush – adorbz. Anyway, I snap off the stems so the halves aren’t quite so tight a fit, but if the pan you’ve got is on the smaller side, you can cut the pumpkin into smaller pieces, just keep an eye on it because it won’t take as long to roast. When that’s all taken care of, it takes about 45 minutes to an hour at 350 F. Although if you’re roasting more than one pumpkin at a time, it might take longer.
While the pumpkins are baking, go ahead and separate the seeds from the stringy bits, rinse well, and spread ’em out on some tea towels to dry thoroughly for a day or two. If they’re not completely dry when it’s roasting time, they won’t get crispy like they’re supposed to. Avoid drying them on paper towels at all costs – they stick to the seeds when they’re dry, and no one wants to munch on roasted paper towels.
When the pumpkin’s done, it should be soft enough to pierce the skin with a fork. Unfortunately, sometimes the skin can be pretty stubborn – the smallest of the pumpkins I did this time had an almost brittle skin. When I took a fork to it after 45 minutes, it didn’t feel done at all. After an hour, I decided to try to use my toothpick arms again and take a running start to jab with a little more might. It turned out to be done on the inside, even though the skin was brittle and shell-like. What the what? No fair.
After the cooking part is finished and your pumpkins have cooled a bit, remove the skins and puree the flesh in a food processor or blender until smooth. Three pie pumpkins to yielded approx. 2 quarts. It all depends on the size of yo squash.
Divvy it up into whatever portions you’d like (I measure 1 and 2 cup amounts in tupperware containers) and toss it in the freezer. Fresh punkin puree allllll winter long. [Consider this foreshadowing for future kitchen (mis)adventures].
Verdict? Triumph. [a wonderfully messy one]