Pumpkin dishes are one of the sure heralds of fall and the holidays–between the coffee, the beer, the baked goods, and all the rest, it almost seems impossible not to enjoy pumpkin in some way. Here on the North Fork, visitors and locals alike swarm the farm stands and fields in search of the bright orange squash and all the fall festivities that come with it.
There are so many different varietals of pumpkins, and so many dishes to try, it would be a shame to limit your pumpkin use to just autumn. Making your own pumpkin purée allows you to freeze the freshness of the harvest pumpkins and to make delicious, healthier versions of all your favorite recipes. Fresh pumpkin purée is rich in vitamins, fiber, and alpha carotene, (an antioxidant), and using it reduces the amount of fat normally required for moist recipes–pie filling, pumpkin bread, souffles, scones, and cupcakes, even savory items like ravioli, tamales, and soups. The pumpkin color in your recipes will be brighter, the nutritional benefits higher, and the flavor is just so much better than canned.
Follow these simple steps, and take your pumpkin dishes to the next level!
- Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
- Quarter your choice of pumpkin.
- Scoop the meat out and separate from the seeds. Discard the unused pulp.
- Brush a baking sheet with vegetable oil, and lay out your pumpkin pieces on it.
- Season to taste with salt and a drizzle more of oil.
- Bake until tender, about 35 minutes, testing doneness with a fork.
- Cool completely.
- Using a teaspoon, scoop the meat out of the skin, and discard the skin afterwards.
- Place pumpkin meat in a food processor and pulse until smooth.
- Store in plastic containers, and freeze for use throughout the year.