Fall is here! You know what that means? Cool weather, changing color of leaves, more soup, pie, apple and pumpkin recipes coming our way. You cannot enjoy Fall without making at least one (or more) of these treats.
Do not panic! It;s not yet Fall, but it is coming really soon. Oh well, maybe then you need to panic and start maximizing the remaining Summer season. Fall is coming whether we like it or not, so might as well embrace it with open arms. So this post is about preparing for Fall baking, and what better way to prepare for it than to understand the main Fall ingredients… Pumpkin.
Today, we are going to get to know a little more about the vibrant beautiful Pumpkin. More importantly, we are going to learn how to make Pumpkin Puree from scratch using only 1 ingredient. You guess it right, our beloved Pumpkin, the star of the show. I used to buy canned Pumpkin Pie Filling, and I still do. They are convenient just like any canned items that is readily available so I have totally nothing against it. I’m all for it. But I also think it won’t hurt to learn how to make my own pumpkin puree, pure, simple and no preservatives added.
What’s the Difference Between Pumpkin Pie Filling and Pumpkin Purée?
Pumpkin Pie Filling already have the fall spices (nutmeg, cinnamon etc) so You don’t really need to add more to get the flavor. It has a subtle flavor, which I personally prefer. You can always add more fall spices if You want the flavor to be stronger. Pumpkin Purée on the other hand is just a puree without the spices added, You can even make your own by simply boiling or Pumpkin and pureeing it in a blender. When You use Pumpkin Puree , You have to add Fall spices when you use it for baking.
Benefits of Pumpkin
- Just a cup of cooked, mashed pumpkin contains more than 200% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin A which is good for vision (especially in dim light).
- Pumpkins are also rich in carotenoids (the source of the squash’s vibrant orange color) including beta-carotene which the body can convert into a form of vitamin A.
- It’s a great source of fiber – 3 grams per one-cup serving – and has only 49 calories so you’ll feel full for longer, on fewer calories. Pumpkin seeds are naturally rich in plant-based phytosterols that have been shown to reduce “bad” cholesterol.
- The seeds are also rich in tryptophan amino acid which is important in the production of serotonin, a major mood-enhancer
- . Pumpkin’s beta-carotene has been shown to potentially reduce cancer risk. These carotenoids also help keep the skin wrinkle-free.
- A cup of cooked pumpkin has 564 milligrams of potassium, important for refueling.
- Canned pumpkin is nearly 90% water so it’s great for keeping you hydrated.
- Pumpkin has been shown to reduce blood glucose levels, improve glucose tolerance and increase the amount of insulin the body produces.
What Kind of Pumpkin is Best for Making Pumpkin Purée?
Definitely stay away from the big pumpkins you see in Pumpkin Patch, the one use for carving Jack-O-Lantern Pumpkins. Although they can be cooked, they’re very stringy (or fibrous), bland, and watery. So which one is suitable?
- The right type: The best pumpkins for cooking and baking are the one with smooth textured flesh, sweet and flavorful. Look for “sugar pumpkins” or “pie pumpkins.” The likes of Cinderella Pumpkin, Pink Banana Pumpkin, Sugar Pie Pumpkins.
- The right size: Something between 4 – 8 lbs
- The right skin: Choose smooth textured skin, without bruises and soft spots
How to Cut Pumpkin?
- Steady the pumpkin on a thick towel.
- Insert a large carving knife near the stem and cut down toward the bottom. Then, turn the pumpkin and cut down the other side.
- Scoop the seeds out with a large spoon, being sure to scrape along the flesh to remove the fibrous strings.
How to Store Pumpkin Puree:
- Refrigerate: Transfer in an airtight container and store in refrigerator for about 1 week
- Freeze: Transfer in a ziplock bag or freeze in silcione muffin mold or ice cube tray. Freeze the muffin tin and ice cube tray with pumpkin puree overnight and the following day, remove it from the mold/tray and transfer in a ziplock bag. Pumpkin Puree can be frozen for 2-3 months
How to Freeze Pumpkin Puree:
- In a Zip-Top Bag : Freeze the bags flat on a baking sheet and you can then store them upright like a file. These flat bags thaw easily at room temperature, or you can quickly thaw them in the microwave.
- In a Muffin Tin: Fill a muffin tin with 1/2-cup measures of pumpkin purée, smooth out, and freeze. Once frozen you can remove the pumpkin pucks and move them to a reusable zip-top bag for long-term storage.
- In Ice Cube Tray: fill, freeze solid, and then move the cubes to a bag or airtight container for storing.
- 1 Sugar Pumpkin or Pie Pumpkin (any size)
- Split the pumpkin and then scrape out the seeds: Scrape the seeds and attached strings out of your split pumpkin. Don’t throw these away! If you don’t have time to deal with them now, however, you can cover the bowl and refrigerate for several days.
- Roast until soft and then scrape up the flesh: Heat the oven to 400°F. Place the two halves cut-side up in a baking dish and roast for about an hour to an hour and half or until very soft inside. Remove from the oven and let cool. Scrape up all the flesh inside the pumpkin, leaving only an empty shell or rind behind. If there is a lot of thick flesh that is too hard to be scraped up, then the pumpkin needs to roast longer. Scrape up all the flesh inside the pumpkin, leaving only an empty shell or rind behind. If there is a lot of thick flesh that is too hard to be scraped up, then the pumpkin needs to roast longer.
- Purée until smooth: Put all that scraped-up pumpkin in a food processor or food mill and purée until smooth. Refrigerate immediately; this will last for a few days in the fridge or a couple months in the freezer, well-sealed. When you take it out to use it, you will probably notice some water separation. Make sure to drain this water away before using it in a recipe!
4 lb of Pumpkin makes 3 1/3 cups Pumpkin Puree
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