Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Rinse the pumpkin and pat dry with paper towels.
Cut off the stem of the pumpkin. Then cut the pumpkin in half. To do this, stick a heavy sharp knife down inside the top of the pumpkin near the stem. Push the knife down towards the bottom of the pumpkin. Rotate the pumpkin around so that you cut it all the way through.
Spoon out the seeds and scrape the stringy pulp until the inside of the pumpkin is smooth; discard the seeds and pulp.
Lay the two pumpkin halves cut-side down onto the prepared baking sheet. Brush canola oil all over the outside of the skin.
Bake in the preheated oven for about an hour, or until fork-tender.
Allow the pumpkin to cool completely.
Once the pumpkin has cooled, use a large spoon to scoop out the pulp directly into the food processor or blender. Puree until smooth.
Cutting the Pumpkin or Squash: Be sure to keep your fingers out of the way of the knife. Rotate the pumpkin around so that you cut it all the way through. Sometimes they are tough to get open. A rubber mallet is useful for tapping the knife through the pumpkin. If the knife gets stuck, carefully give the pumpkin a few firm whacks on the counter, until it releases the knife. Sometimes this will help the knife penetrate all the way through.The Seeds: Seeds from all pumpkins and winter squash can be roasted and eaten. Save them if desired.Baking Time: Baking time will vary depending on the size and shape of your pumpkin (or squash).Too Watery? Although the pumpkin puree should be ready to use right away, sometimes it can still be a little watery even after roasting. If you would like the pumpkin puree to be a little thicker, drain the puree before storing it. To drain, use a fine sieve, or a colander lined with a coffee filter or cheesecloth. Allow the puree to drain for about an hour after pureeing.How to Store and Freeze Pumpkin Puree: A pumpkin or winter squash usually provides more puree than you can use right away. You can store pumpkin puree sealed tightly inside an airtight container in the refrigerator for a few days. If you do not use the puree within a few days, place the puree in pre-measured amounts inside plastic containers or freezer bags. I usually store in cup size (8-ounce) portions.
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