There is nothing like the taste of a fresh pumpkin pie or cookies and other baked good made with fresh pumpkin as opposed to the canned pumpkin you find in the stores – when you can find it.

I’ve been cooking and freezing fresh pumpkin for years and years. I’ve used three different methods and I have to tell ya, only one of those methods really gives me the end product that I want. Its kind of the the story of Goldilocks and The Three Bears.

First I tried cutting up and peeling the pumpkin, chunking it up and boiling it in water. The end product was way too watery and had to be cooked cooked to get all the moisture out. It still didn’t really suit me.

The second method was to cut the pumpkin open and bake it in the oven. Way too dry. It won’t go through a food mill very well and it has a mealy texture sometimes.

Finally, I baked it in the oven COVERED. And it was just right.

Cut the pumpkin open, scrape out the seeds and pulp. Place it in a baking dish or even better: A covered roaster.

If your pumpkin is very large, you can cut it into small pieces to fit in your pan and of course you can use more than one pan if needed.

Add about 1/2 cup water. You can also place the pumpkin halves on racks to keep the pumpkin out of the water.  Cover the pan with foil or a tightly fitting lid. Bake at 350*F til the pumpkin is so tender that you can easily pierce the peel with a fork.

Bring the pumpkin out of the oven and allow it to cool until you can easily handle it.

Using a large spoon, scoop out all the cooked pumpkin. Transfer it to a clean bowl to await processing.  That’s all there is to it. From this state, you can run it through a food mill easily so you can freeze  it, or you can use it as-is to make pies, muffins, pumpkin spice oatmeal and cakes.  And pumpkin butter.  And Pumpkin Spice Lattes.

If you want to can pumpkin, I recommend that you peel it raw and cut it into chunks and can the chunks.  It is not usually recommended that pureed pumpkin be canned because of the danger of not getting the center of the food in the jar hot enough to kill bacteria.

BTW, if you like kitchen helps like this,  I’d like to invite you to sign up for my monthly CHK Newsletter. You can sign up for it on the front page of this site. The first issue will come out in October!