It's time to bring the pumpkins in and process them for cooking. Yay! Pumpkin!
We managed to grow a few small ones this year that the squash bugs didn't get. I got another, larger one from a market, too so I could play around with pumpkin/squash soup recipes and so we could put some up.
There are a couple of ways to process pumpkin for use in pies and soups. You can bake it, or you can steam it. I like to steam it because it's faster.
First cut it in half. This was an excellent, meaty pumpkin. Not many seeds, but a lot of flesh. Perfect for pies and soup.
Scrape out the seeds. Don't worry about getting all the stringy things out. Just get the seeds out.
Cut the pumpkin into wedges or strips. Then peel each strip with a vegetable peeler.
Cut each peeled strip into chunks. They can be big chunks, but not huge ones.
Steam the chunks until they are soft. You should be able to put a fork in them easily. They might begin to fall apart - that's OK.
I use a little steamer basket that opens up to fit across the entire bottom of this big pot. Then I load the pot to the top with pumpkin chunks. They'll cook down a bit as they steam.
Turn the heat on high enough to get a hard boil. Once it's boiling well, you can cover the pot and turn the heat down. It only took me about 20 minutes to steam a big pot full. [I had two pots worth of pumpkin chunks.]
Once the pumpkin is good and cooked, I put it in a bowl and mash it up a bit with a potato masher before it goes in the blender.
My blender is happier that way.
I filled it to the tippy top. Then I turned on puree to get...
....this lovely pumpkin puree.
Now it's ready to use in pie or soup or pumpkin butter or whatever else your heart desires.
We used ours in soup and in pumpkin pancakes. Yum.
Long term storage: Pumpkin is dense and low acid. If you want to bottle it up keep in your cupboard, then make sure you use your pressure canner. If you don't want to mess with the pressure canner, then you can freeze the puree until you're ready to use it.