How to Prepare
There are many methods to cook pumpkin, but first they must be deseeded and de-stringed.
You can cut off the stem end and scoop out the insides, or half them for easier access. Save the seeds to roast or even to plant in your own garden, but discard the stringy membrane in the hollow.
Halved pumpkins are easier for roasting, but whole pumpkins with the tops cut off are great for microwaving as a bowl for soup.
To Roast for a purée: Preheat oven to 350ºF. Cut pumpkins in half, scoop out seeds and stringy membrane and place them cut-side down on a lined baking sheet. Roast for about 90 minutes, until they give way easily when poked with a fork. Remove from oven and let cool, then scoop out the flesh and mash or purée until smooth.
To Roast for eating: Preheat oven to 350ºF. Cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out seeds and stringy membrane. Peel the skin with a sharp knife and cut into even cubes. Drizzle some olive oil on top with your choice of seasoning. Try some brown sugar and cinnamon to coat or something spicy like chili or Cajun spice. Bake for about 20 minutes, flip the chunks and then bake again until fork tender. Serve as a side for dinner or incorporate into a recipe.
To Microwave: Cut the pumpkin in half. Remove seeds and stringy membrane. Peel the skin with a sharp knife and cut into even cubes. Place in a glass or microwave-safe dish with 1 cup of water and cover with microwave-safe wrap. Cook on HIGH until tender, about 15-20 minutes. Scoop the flesh from the skin and mash or purée until smooth.
To Boil: Cut the pumpkin in half. Remove seeds and stringy membrane. Peel the skin with a sharp knife and cut into even cubes. Place cubes in a pot and cover with water. Boil until fork-tender. Drain, and mash or purée until smooth.
When you prepare pumpkin purée at home, your end result may be a little thinner than the canned variety. If this is the case, strain your home made pumpkin purée through cheesecloth or a mesh sieve. It will likely strain out 1 cup of liquid, and then it will be of a similar consistency to the store bought canned version.