Will you just look at these little beauties? I mean really look at them. What do they look like to you? If you only see pumpkins, then you are really missing out! When I look at them I see pumpkin pie, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin bread, pumpkin bars, pumpkin soup, pumpkin rolls.... The list is really endless. Pumpkin is one of my favorite ingredients to bake with. I love the flavor and the spices that cooking with pumpkin brings.
Now this year, we're hearing all about the big pumpkin shortage. About how we may not get to enjoy all our favorite fall treats. Boy do I have a solution for you! The large growers may have had a failed crop, but check out your local farmer's market (or even the grocery store), and you will find these little pie pumpkins in abundance. And they are cheap! I got them for 75 cents each! So there is no excuse not to be cooking with pumpkin this year.
When you shop for pie pumpkins, remember that it's not the big carving pumpkins you want. Look for the small pumpkins. These have a higher sugar content than carving pumpkins, so they taste better in baked goods.
Lets get down to business. The first thing you want to do is cut the stem end off your pumpkins and then cut them in half, exposing the seed cavities.
The next step is one of my favorites! Scoop out all the seeds and guts to leave the inside nice and clean.
Turn your pumpkins upside down on a foil lined cookie sheet, cover with another sheet of foil and bake at 350° for about an hour and a half. You want them nice and soft so they are easy to mash up.
Remove them from the oven and let them cool enough to be handled.
Then simply scoop the flesh out and into a bowl. Give it a good stir. It should be soft enough that you won't even need to run it through a food processor. Hello beautiful!!
Then just scoop it into freezer bags, label it and freeze! I freeze mine in 3 1/2 cup portions since thats how much is in a 29 ounce can of pumpkin.
When you're ready to use it just thaw in the fridge and use it just like canned pumpkin!
Source: The sticker on the bottom of the pie pumpkins I bought at Walmart