Pumpkins for Baking or Carving


It's pumpkin season! I usually opt for canned pumpkin to bake my pies, but if you want to use fresh raw pumpkin, be sure to choose the small "sugar" pumpkins at the store or farmer's market. The small pumpkins have sweeter flesh, and more of it, per pound. Large pumpkins are less sweet and have a grainy texture, with more seeds inside. Reserve the large pumpkins for carving into jack-o-lanterns or decorations. 

To make your own pumpkin puree for baking, pre-heat your oven to 325 degrees F. Slice a small pumpkin in half, and scrape out the seeds and stringy bits from the middle. Place the pumpkin halves on a roasting sheet and roast for an hour at 325 degrees. It will be done when you can easily pierce it with a fork. 

After it has cooled, scrape the cooked pulp into a food processor and puree it, or mash it with a potato masher. Then use it for baking as in your regular recipes. 

--Andrea Winchester