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Pumpkin Puree

If you search for pumpkin recipes you will find that most call for canned pumpkin. It is easy to make your own pumpkin puree to freeze and use in recipes. You can also use cushaw, kabocha, red kuri, butternut and other medium to large size winter squash in most pumpkin recipes. Each variety will have a slightly different flavor and moisture content. Once your squash are roasted and pureed you may find you need to drain the puree for a while. A fairly dense mixture resembling canned pumpkin is what your are aiming for! You can use the puree for all sorts of baked goods and sweets. It is also a perfect base for bisques and soups, can be stirred into pasta, polenta or rice dishes and is an excellent filling for enchiladas, lasagnas and more!

To begin, cut your squash in half and scoop out seeds and fibers. If you have a vary hard skinned variety of squash you may want to bake it whole to avoid any knife mishaps. Alternatively, you can crack very large, hard varieties open by smashing them onto a concrete floor or other hard surface! Oil the interior and set the cut sides down on a baking sheet. If the halves are too large for the sheet, cut them into quarters, or smaller, to make them fit. Make sure to coat flesh with oil. Bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour, or until very tender. Once cool, scrape flesh off of skin and mash by hand or in a food processor. If the mixture is loose and wet, place in a colander lined with cheesecloth or coffee filters and cover with a large plate or plastic wrap. Place the colander in a bowl and leave in refrigerator overnight to drain.

Measure out one cup per small freezer bag and freeze for convenient use later in recipes. Keeps well in freezer for several months.