Posted: January 15 2011 in RecipesVegetables

1 fresh pumpkin, up to 4 lbs

Preheat oven to 350° F.  Cut top from pumpkin.  Scrape out stringy membranes and seeds. (Save the seeds to make Toasted Pumpkin seeds)  Cut the pumpkin into large pieces and place on a baking sheet.  Bake about 45 minutes or until pumpkin is soft.  Let cool until you can comfortable handle it.  Scrape the soft pulp from the skin into a food processor or heavy duty blender.  Discard the skin.  Pulse until evenly pureed.  Reheat if serving immediately or refrigerate and use within three days.  The pumpkin puree may be frozen in an airtight container or a zip-lock bag for 10 to 12 months.

Savory pumpkin puree:  Add butter, salt and pepper to taste to the pumpkin puree.  Add brown sugar for a sweeter side dish.  Makes a great menu substitute for mashed potatoes.

Pumpkin Pie puree:  Add cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and brown sugar to the pumpkin puree.  Pumpkin pie spice blend maybe substituted for the spices, if  you wish.

Choose smaller pumpkins weighing 2 to 4 pounds for eating purposes.  Overly large pumpkins tend to be dry and stringy.