We all know that fresh tastes better, yet I always just used canned pumpkin. Why? I'm not sure. Now that I have discovered the delicious and heavenly taste of fresh pumpkin puree in my baked goods, I will never be returning to the can. Here's the scoop so you can enjoy the "liquid gold" as well.
Choose a pumpkin that feels firm and heavy for its size. Look for soft spots, mold, wrinkles or open cuts that would indicate damage or early spoilage. Choose a pumpkin with a solidly attached stem. Preheat your oven to 375°.
Cut a slice out of the pumpkin.
Clean all the guts off the slice.Free of all string and seeds (set guts aside to roast the seeds later)
Place meat side down on a jelly-roll pan. Try to keep the pieces the same size to ensure even cooking.
Once your pan is full add a bit of water to the tray to prevent the pumpkin from sticking and to steam it as it bakes. Bake for about 60 minutes or until the meat is soft.
Allow the pumpkin to cool for a few minutes so you don't burn your fingers. Then remove the skin.
Place the cooked, skinless pieces in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth.
Transfer the puree to a bowl and allow to cool before placing in freezer safe containers for storage.
Then make delicious baked goods such as pie, cake, cookies, and bread.
Here's my pumpkin bread recipe: 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
3 cups sugar
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. salt
16 oz fresh pumpkin puree
1 cup oil
1 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350°. Mix flours, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. In a separate bowl mix the pumpkin puree, oil, and eggs. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and blend well. Add chocolate chips.
Bake for 60-70 minutes.
(if you use canned pumpkin puree, (this won't taste as good) you will need to add 2/3 cup of water to the above recipe.)