Eat it of course! While I know canned pumpkin is inexpensive and easy, nothing beats the upgrade to fresh pumpkin.
WARNING: Following these steps may forever ruin you. You may never be able to return to canned pumpkin. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
- Get your hands on some fresh pumpkin. If you’re already carving a pumpkin, this is easy. Just save the large hunks you cut away and the flesh you scrape out from the inside. Sometimes we g row our own, but that’s getting over zealous.
- Cook it. You can either microwave it until it’s tender or bake it in the oven. When we use the microwave, we do about 5 minutes at a time on HIGH. For the oven, put it flesh down in a shallow pan of water and bake at 350 degrees for about an hour (or until tender). Alternatively, in a pinch, you can peel it raw and cut it into pieces to be cooked later. These cubes cook well in a vegetable steamer.
- Puree it. I’ve done this in a standard, not-so-powerful blender, but it requires you to add a lot of water to get a good puree. If you go this route, let the puree sit in a mesh strainer for about an hour to let some of the liquid drain off. Otherwise, it should puree without added liquid.
- Freeze it. We freeze ours in Food Saver bags. However, any freezer safe container or bag will do. Freezing it in one or two cup portions will make it easily accessible for baking. We often have enough to last us a year.
- Eat it. Over the years, we’ve added fresh pumpkin puree to everything from soups and chilis to pancakes. We’ve also made a variety of baked goods. Because of the extra water in fresh pumpkin, it cannot be directly substituted into any pumpkin recipe. My favorite place for fresh pumpkin recipes is Pick Your Own.
Happy Pumpkin Season!
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