Easy Like a Sunday Morning, that’s how the recipes in my “Easy” category will be. Nothing rushed or frantic, nothing with a long list of ingredients. Something that is so easy, you don’t really need a recipe. Something that almost cooks itself or requires no cooking at all.
Have you noticed all the yummy pumpkin based recipes out there? I sure have and that’s why I decided that this year, I would make some roasted pumpkin purée.
I chose to roast my pumpkin because I love the caramelized taste of roasted vegetables and it’s important to me that the purée retains most of the pumpkin’s nutrients rather having them washed down the sink after boiling.
I knew that pumpkins were nutritious, but didn’t know they’re considered a superfood.
- Pumpkin is an excellent source of dietary fiber.
- Pumpkins are full of antioxidant carotenoids.
- Pumpkins are a good source of protein. One half (1/2) Cup of cooked Pumpkin has about 1.35 grams of protein. Note: roasted pumpkin seeds have a whopping 5.26 grams of protein per oz. [source]
- Despite its rich taste, pumpkin is low in calories with less than 60 calories per 1/2 Cup of cooked pumpkin [source]
- Eating pumpkins regularly could help you lose weight and improve your overall health and well-being
Interested in getting more detailed information about pumpkin’s nutritional value? If so, I find this site is very helpful.
How to choose a Fresh Pumpkin:
- There are special pumpkins for cooking. Pie pumpkins, or sugar pumpkins have sweeter flesh and generally weigh between two to four pounds. For best cooking results, don’t buy a huge pumpkin, as they will be bitter, tough and stringy.
- Pumpkin breeds such as Blue Hokkaido, Sugar Pie, Cheese and Cinderella varieties are often recommended for their texture and flavor. The best source of information about different pumpkins will be found at a farmers’ markets, or directly from farmers.
- As with all melons, choose a pumpkin that feels solid and heavy for its size.
- Choose a pumpkin that has consistent orange coloring throughout.
- Choose a pumpkin that is free of blemishes. Look for soft spots, mold, wrinkles or open cuts that suggest damage or early spoilage.
- Choose a pumpkin with a solidly attached stem. A green stem indicates a freshly harvested pumpkin.
How to store fresh pumpkin:
- Store in a cool dark place. Properly stored fresh pumpkins will keep for several months.
- Cut in half with a sturdy knife and store in the fridge for a couple of days. Wrap in plastic wrap or sealed container
Ways to use fresh roasted pumpkin purée:
- Pumpkin purée is a favorite first food for babies.
- Use “strained” homemade pumpkin purée to make pie, ice cream, waffles or pancakes.
- Use fresh unstrained homemade pumpkin purée to make Roasted Pumpkin Chai Smoothie, bread or muffins.
- Use only fresh homemade, never the canned stuff, to make soup and savory dishes like ravioli.
Feel you haven’t got a full hour to wait for a pumpkin to roast? I recommend steaming the pumpkin and not boiling it. That way it will still keep most of the nutrients and not have them washed down the drain. Your pumpkin purée will be ready to use in about 15-20 minutes and that’s likely less time than it would have taken you to drive to the store to pick up a can of pumpkin.
I don’t usually get into the science of nutrition. I prefer to leave that to the people who have some knowledge and training in dietetics but I was doing research so I could present you with some solid reasons to make your own pumpkin purée from scratch…and that is how I stumbled upon The Great Pumpkin Debate.
The Great Pumpkin Debate: Homemade Pumpkin Puree vs Canned
- The general consensus is most people don’t notice a difference in taste between goods baked with homemade pumpkin purée, versus canned but there is a difference in consistency. Homemade pumpkin purée is generally not as thick as the canned stuff.
- If you think your pumpkin purée has more water than canned purée, simply simmer it in a saucepan until it thickens, or strain it in a colander lined with cheesecloth. You can let it drain for a few hours, or overnight.
- Most canned pumpkin is actually squash. There’s apparently not much difference in taste between pie pumpkins and butternut or other winter squash??
- When working with pumpkin whether homemade or canned, fresh spices can make a big difference!
- Canned pumpkin is higher in beta carotene than fresh because they are released from the fiber with the processing necessary for packing/canning but that means that fresh homemade pumpkin purée is much higher in fiber.
- BPA is found in almost everything from plastic water bottles (with the number 7 on the bottom) to thermal printed shopping receipts to the plastic linings in many canned foods. Canned vegetables, fruits, soups and infant formula are some of the worst culprits.
- Canned foods are one of the biggest sources of BPA exposure for US consumers. The Environmental Working Group’s website is a resource for info on BPA, including BPA in canned foods.
- If you decide to get canned pumpkin, look for cans that are BPA free and check the can to make sure that you are getting pure pumpkin and not “pumpkin pie filling”. Canned “pumpkin pie filling” is sweetened and often has other additives.
Bottom line, I’m pretty sure the great pumpkin debate will continue as long as there is a strong demand for the utmost convenience in our society. However, if you’re looking for nutritious food, that is BPA free and you wish to avoid unpronounceable additives, shop local, support local farmers, reduce your carbon footprint, etcetera, then fresh homemade pumpkin purée will always be worth the extra effort.
How To Make Roasted Pumpkin Puree
Summary: Homemade roasted pumpkin purée is easy to make and it’s freezer friendly.
Gluten Free | Grain Free | Sugar Free | Dairy Free | Egg Free | Vegan | Vegetarian
- Small (5 lbs or less) cooking pumpkin such as Blue Hokkaido, Sugar Pie, Cheese or Cinderella
- Heat oven to 400°F. For easy cleanup, line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- Wash the outside of your pumpkin. Cut off the top, scoop out seeds. Save those seeds for roasting.
- Cut pumpkin shell into large chunks. Place pieces face down on parchment lined cookie sheet.
- Bake 45 minutes to an hour, or until peel is golden brown and flesh is soft. Allow to cool on pan.
- Use sharp edge of a large spoon to separate flesh from the peel. Add to blender or food processor. Process purée until it is nice and smooth.
- If pumpkin purée is too watery for your purposes, simmer in a saucepan until it thickens, or strain in a colander lined with cheesecloth. You can let it drain for a few hours, or overnight.
- Store cooked pumpkin purée for a few days in a sealed container in the fridge, or freeze in small portions (about 1/4 cup) for later use.
- Yield: my 12 lb. pumpkin was too big, I know that now but it made about 12 Cups of Roasted Pumpkin Puree, or about one cup per pound.
- 1 3/4 cups of roasted pumpkin purée equals about one 14 oz can of pumpkin purée.
Preparation time: 10 minute(s)
Cooking time: 1 hour(s)
Diet type: Vegan | Vegetarian
Diet tags: Gluten Free | Grain Free | Sugar Free | Dairy Free | Egg Free
Recipe by Laureen.
To see a text listing of Laureen’s gluten free recipes, click here
For dairy, egg, nut and gluten free flour substitutions, click here
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