There’s just something so pleasing about the sweet smell that invades my home when I’m roasting pumpkins. It’s such a wonderful, nostalgic smell that conjures up memories of past holidays, spending time with my family, eating warming foods, and the changing seasons.
I’ll be the first to admit, I’m a huge sucker for the holidays. I don’t go all out decorating my home, but I love the food and togetherness that are associated with this time of year. Usually by October I’ve watched National Lampoon: Christmas Vacation at least once. I know, we haven’t even gotten through Halloween yet and I’m already talking about watching Christmas movies, but honestly, it’s one of my all-time favorites and I could watch it anytime. The fact that I haven’t watched it yet means that I’m behind this year
Even though I’m behind on my holiday movie-watching, I jumped the gun on my pumpkin-roasting. Apparently, every time I go to the grocery store I have to buy another winter squash to add to my ever-growing collection.
Acorn squash was my first winter squash for the season and it didn’t last very long (at least not long enough to make it into the picture above): I made Acorn Squash soup last week, which I quickly inhaled. Yesterday, I finally caved and decided that it was time to carve up my beautiful little pumpkin, too. I’ve been wanting to make something pumpkin-flavored ever since pumpkins began to make an appearance at the grocery store a few weeks ago. If you’ve ever had homemade pumpkin puree then you know that the canned version just doesn’t hold a candle to the fresh-from-the-oven version. Truthfully, because of the improved flavor, the added bonus of gathering fresh and plump seeds for roasting, and the ease of roasting, there is no reason to buy canned pumpkin!! In case you’ve never roasted a pumpkin (or have simply forgotten the steps because it’s been so long), I’ve included the How-To for you below.
How To Roast a Pumpkin:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Rinse the pumpkin and pat dry with a towel.
3. Slice the pumpkin down the center using a sharp knife.
4. With a large metal spoon, scoop out the seeds. *Be sure to save the seeds for roasting!
5. Lay the pumpkin with the flat side facing downward in a large baking dish.
6. Fill the baking dish with 1/4-1/2 inch of filtered water.
7. Bake the pumpkin in the preheated oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour. You’ll know the pumpkin is ready when you’re able to easily break the skin when you poke it with a fork.
8. Remove the pumpkin from the oven and allow it to cool.
9. When the pumpkin halves are cool enough to handle, use a spoon to scoop out the insides and discard the skin. Add the pumpkin to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
10. Store in the fridge for up to a week, or freeze in small batches for later use.
You’re done!! It’s that easy! Now that you have delicious, homemade pumpkin puree, you can add it to many of your favorite recipes! I saved some for making goodies later, and I used the rest to make Homemade Pumpkin Butter. For the past couple of days, I’ve been enjoying toast with pumpkin butter for breakfast along with a big glass of apple cider. That’s my little piece of heaven…
- 1½-2 cups fresh pumpkin puree
- 1½ tsp. cinnamon
- ¼ tsp. nutmeg
- pinch of ground cloves
- pinch of ground ginger
- sweetener of choice (honey and stevia are my favorites), adding until you reach desired sweetness
- Blend all of the ingredients together in a food processor or blender, tasting as you go.
- Eat right away or store in a jar in the fridge for up to a week.