One of the best parts about living in Northern Michigan is that we truly get all the seasons. When the leaves start changing colors they are so breathtakingly beautiful people flock to the area just to see them. When you add in the rain and light snow we’ve had lately everything has been damp and that makes the colors so much bolder.
Our oldest daughter was born in October and she has always gravitated towards fall flavors – her favorite dessert is a pumpkin roll with cream cheese frosting. Canned pumpkin has been extremely hard to find in Michigan this year so I wanted to put enough in the freezer that I wouldn’t worry about having to fall back on store bought pumpkin.
Pumpkin purée is so easy to make I’m not sure why anyone would bother with store bought canned pumpkin. My daughter loves helping clean out the pumpkin seeds which makes the whole process more fun for her.
I move my baking racks as low as possible so the pumpkins don’t scorch. No one is going to see the skins so don’t worry if yours get too dark. I put enough water in the bottom of my pan that it just covers the surface; this isn’t necessary but I believe the water helps to steam the squash.
After about 45 minutes of baking I start checking my squash every 15 minutes to see if it’s done. When the pumpkins are done a fork should slip through them easily. After letting them cook you can scoop the squash out and compost the skins.
I used my blender to purée the pumpkin but you could use a food processor; I am planning to use some of my purée for baby food and I wanted to make sure I could get it blended very fine. If your purée is too thick you can add water a tablespoon at a time until it reaches your desired consistency. I then store mine in one cup portions in freezer bags for easier handling.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Remove stems from pumpkins and slice in half.
- Remove seeds and stringy-slimy interior.
- Place pumpkins meat side down on baking pan and pour water into the bottom of the pan.
- Bake pumpkins for one hour or until fork tender.
- Allow pumpkins to cool then scoop out squash and discard skins.
- Blend pumpkin to desired consistency.
- Separate into one cup portions in freezer bags. Rigid plastic containers may be used as well.
- Lay flat in freezer until frozen through.