My father-in-law is basically the world's best gardener, and we're lucky to reap the benefits of his skills. He recently showed up at our house with a huge and seemingly perfect looking "cooking pumpkin" - as he called it - and I got to dabble in making my very own pumpkin puree. It is basically the same stuff that you buy in a can at the grocery, but for a fraction of the price, none of the waste, and even more tastiness.
-Cream Cheese Pumpkin Bread
-Freeze into cubes and use in smoothies
-Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte
-Whatever else your fall-loving heart desires
-1 large pumpkin (or a small, it will just make less puree!)
-1 tablespoon cinnamon
-1 tablespoon nutmeg
-1 teaspoon ground cloves
-Optional: 1-2 tablespoons maple syrup
1. Heat oven to 300 degrees F
2. Carefully cut top of pumpkin and remove seeds. Save these to roast if you like!
3. Cut the pumpkin in half
4. Carefully cut the pumpkin in slices along natural grooves, if it has them. If not, any size slice will do. The thinner, the less time it takes in the oven to soften.
5. Arrange pumpkin slices on a large baking sheet and place in the oven for about an hour. My father-in-law's pumpkin was so large that I had to do this step twice!
6. Once the slices are easily penetrable with a fork, remove from the oven and allow to cool to handling temperature. Once cooled, cut skin away from pumpkin.
7. If you have an immersion/hand blender, add pumpkin to a large pot on low heat on the stove and blend until completely smooth. You may also use a normal kitchen blender, blending until completely smooth, then add to pot on low heat on stove.
8. Add in spices and optional maple syrup. Allow pumpkin puree to come to a simmer, stirring often, then remove from heat and allow to cool. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days, or in the freezer for 4-5 months.