It’s pumpkin (and butternut squash) season! And strangely, while these wonderful veggies are in season, the internet is filled with recipes calling for canned pumpkin! Don’t you worry, you can easily substitute canned puree for fresh butternut squash or pumpkin puree. Once you have your squash puree on hand, you’ll be able to make all the pumpkin recipes your heart desires from spiced purees to warming soups to dreamy pies. Start with a pie pumpkin or butternut squash. Some tips for choosing your squash are to feel for ones that seems heavier for their size than others and to make sure there aren’t any obvious soft or dark spots. Carefully cut in half lengthwise (bottom to top for the pumpkin) using a large sharp knife. Then use a spoon to scrape out all the seeds. If it seems difficult to remove the seeds, really scrape at the walls of the squash with the tip of the spoon. Now you’re ready for one of two methods! Method 1: Place squash into a pressure cooker (I use an electric one here) with a cup of water at the bottom and the steamer insert. You may need to chop the squash into smaller chunks to fit. Pressure cook for 8 minutes on high. Method two: Place squash cut side down in a baking dish with 1 inch of water and place into a preheated 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes until flesh is tender. (For the pumpkin you may not be able to easily pierce the skin, but if it squashes down when you poke it, it’s ready) Once cool enough to handle, scoop the flesh out into your blender. This one is the butternut squash! Blend until smooth, adding a little bit of the cooking water as needed. Mmmm, look at that creamy lusciousness! You can use the puree immediately in any recipe calling for canned pumpkin puree or you can freeze into 1/2 or 1/4 cup measurements to have on hand anytime the squash cravings hit. I hope you will enjoy the fresh fall flavor every way you can!