Tip: Bake Pumpkins Before You Split Them Open

Making your own pumpkin puree this year? (It's easy, and much tastier than the canned stuff, in my humble opinion.) Here's one hassle-saving tip for roasting pumpkins: Roast the pumpkin whole, at least part of the way.

If you've ever cut a pumpkin open, especially a large specimen, you know that it can be tough going. You have to be careful of your hands, and use your biggest knife. Yes, pie pumpkins are smaller and easier to handle than the oversized Jack-o-Lanterns, but still — I'm always a little afraid for my digits.

I was, that is, until I learned that it's so much easier to just throw the whole pumpkin straight in the oven. Here are my three small pie pumpkins, tossed straight into my hot oven. I didn't even bother to cut off their stems.

After about 45 minutes, the pumpkins will be soft enough to cut open easily. (Just beware of escaping steam.) Cut them open, scrape out the seeds and strings, and return the cleaned halves to the oven on a baking sheet. Bake for another 30 minutes, or until the flesh can be easily scraped from the shell.

Are you making pumpkin puree from fresh pumpkins this year? Any special plans for it? (Besides pie, of course.)

Related: How To: Make Pumpkin Puree

(Image: Faith Durand)