It's the perfect time of year for pumpkin pies and thick creamy pumpkin soups, but instead of loading up on cans of pumpkin, why not use fresh pumpkins? Local farms are sure to have plenty of them this time of year.
Pumpkin varieties that are meant for cooking are smaller and more fleshy than the big, round, hollow varieties that are great for jack-o-lanterns. Much like cooking a butternut squash, just halve the pumpkin and scoop out the seeds and stringy mess. (You can save the seeds and roast them for a nice snack.) Place the pumpkin halves face down in a baking dish. Add some water to the dish to keep the pumpkin from drying out and bake it at 450 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour, until the pumpkin is nice and soft. Once the pumpkin is cooked, you can puree it with an immersion blender to get it the same consistency as the junk that comes out of the can.
It will take a little more time than taking off the lid of the aluminum can, but the freshness will enhance any pumpkin dish you can think up. To stretch your efforts out, you can also freeze your pumpkin puree for your next delicious dish. Think about all the fossil fuels that get cut out by using local produce and eliminating all the processing!
If you are feeling a little more adventurous than a pumpkin pie, try out this stuffed pumpkin