Cooking a pumpkin is not that different from baking a potato. Once you realize this, you will not want to bother with the canned stuff. You can make the puree and freeze it to make really good pumpkin bread or soup. In pie, fresh pumpkin has a more delicate flavor and the filling bakes up lighter than the usually too-dense (in my opinion) filling that turns some people off to pumpkin pie.
One pound of pumpkin produces a little less than one cup of pumpkin puree. It is almost 1:1 pound to cup, so you might as well roast a 3 to 4 pound pumpkin while you’re at it, and freeze the leftovers.
How to cook a pumpkin
1 sugar pumpkin or pie pumpkin, the size of your choosing
1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment for easy cleanup.
2. Cut the pumpkin in half and place it flat side down on the baking sheet. Don’t bother to scrape out the seeds yet; it’s easier to do when the pumpkin is cooked. Bake it for about an hour. Poke it with a knife to see if it is soft, just like you would test a baked potato. Remove and let it cool on the baking sheet.
3. Scoop out and discard the seeds. Peel off and discard the pumpkin rind. Cut the flesh in chunks and puree until very smooth in a food processor. If the pumpkin has a very dry consistency, you may need add a little water. (Just a little.)
You can store extra pumpkin puree in a plastic bag in the freezer for up to 3 months.