On Roasting a Pumpkin

It should be said, that rarely does anyone photograph or capture the essence of mishaps for their blog. My friend said the other day, in reference to the comparison syndrome (you know, feeling like you just don't seem to measure up), "that's why I don't read other mom's blogs too often, because they only post the wonderful things they do with their kids and it makes you feel like you're (and I paraphrase) a Loser!" It's very true, whether it's a mom blog, a crafty blog, a food blog, etc, you rarely see or read the disasters.

And to let it be known, I for one am definitely not above disaster. It's a humbling experience all the same, but it's what I do with the flop and try to get better.

That's what I love about roasting & pureeing my own pumpkin. It falls under the "from scratch" (even more if I had a yard to grow the squash/pumpkin) category and ultimately makes the recipe taste a little better. I wanted to encourage those of you who think buying canned pumpkin is the only option to step into this safe world of roasting your own.

First things first...pick a sugar pie pumpkin or other squash variety (I normally use sweet meat squash), which suits your culinary needs.  I have for years baked sweet meat squash for my "pumpkin" baking needs and never had any complaints.  My friend Kelli gave me two of her pumpkins from her yard :) Preheat your oven to 450.

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Honestly, the most difficult step is roasting your pumpkin would be cutting the pumpkin.  You really should have a sharp chef's knife for the job.  You want to cut it down in the middle, with one hand on the handle and the other hand pressing down (gently but with a bit of pressure)  on the blade.  Squash can be a bit sticky, leaving a residue on your hands, which acts a suction device for you knife.  So again, be careful in cutting.

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Scoop out all of the seeds and stingage.  Place in a bowl to roast the seeds for later.  Be sure you DO NOT put the insides into your garbage disposal, as it will get caught and the plumber will have to come.  I speak from experience.

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Place your pumpkin cut side down on a parchment lined roasting pan or jelly roll pan.  Pour in some water onto the pan to aid with steam in the oven, because you really don't want to brown the cut edges.  Put in the oven and bake for 60-90 minutes, depending on the size of your pumpkin.  It will be done when you can pierce through the pumpkin with a knife.

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Now how it goes from solid to puree is up for discussion, but this is how I do it.  Scrape the pumpkin meat out and plop it in a food processor.  Don't overload your processor, but process in batches.  Process till smooth. I need to add water to make it smooth when using sweet meat squash. Add 1/4 cup increments. Put into containers.  I freeze mine, because, well...that's just what I do.  I used to use freezer ziploc bags until I found these handy plastic containers at Cash & Carry.  I use the 12 ounce ones and I believe they were $2.75 for 50 of them (lids sold separately). 

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Hope you take advantage of pureeing your own pumpkin and squash!  It's therapeutic.