Pumpkin puree is one of the most convenient products available and can also be one of the most frugal, both in terms of preparation time and money. Nearly everywhere in the U.S. you can purchase pumpkin puree for less than a dollar per 15 ounce can. Pumpkin puree (note - not pumpkin pie mix) provides the vital nutrients vitamin A (as beta-carotene) and fiber. In the canning process of pumpkin puree absolutely no sodium is added to the product, unlike other vegetables.
Pumpkin puree is useful for so much, including cocktails, casseroles, pasta fillings and breakfast smoothies.
The Many Uses of Pumpkin Puree
The many uses for pumpkin puree extend far beyond pumpkin pie or sweetbreads. Consider the following ideas for using your pumpkin puree:
- A savory pumpkin soup.
- Combine with milk for a creamy pasta sauce.
- A tasty twist on a breakfast smoothie.
- Make pumpkin butter by sweetening it with maple syrup.
- Spread on toast or blend into your yogurt.
- Use in casseroles.
- Add to pasta fillings.
Another great facet of this nutritious wonder food is that it lasts up to two years in an unopened can. Best of all however, pumpkin is packed with nutrients!
Stock up on pumpking puree on your next trip to the store!
Make Homemade Pumpkin Puree
Would you rather make your own pumpkin puree to keep on hand for the many tasty uses it has? It's really not all that difficult. Here's the low-down.
- Gather your pumpkins - one or as many as you wish.
- Cut the top of the pumpkin off, then cut the rest of the pumpkin in half
- With a spoon or a scoop, scrape out the seeds and pulp from the center. You may have to work at that stringy stuff a bit - it tends to be a bit stubborn.
- Place all the seeds into a bowl (do not discard them).
- Repeat until all or your pumpkin pieces are largely free of seeds and pulp.
- Place the pumpkin pieces on a baking sheet and roast in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes, or until pumpkin is fork-tender. You can place the pumpkin face up or face down - it doesn't matter.
- Cool a bit, then peel off all of the skin from the pumpkin halves.
- Process the pumpkin in a food processor or blender. Pulse until pumpkin is totally smooth. If the mixture seems a bit dry, add a bit of water until it reaches your desired consistency. On the other hand, if the puree is too watery, strain it through a cheesecloth to remove the excess moisture.
- Use immediately or store in the freezer for later use.
What About the Saved Seeds?
Toast or roast them! The terms "toast" and "roast" are pretty much interchangealbe.
Toasted or Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
You will need: Seeds from one large pumpkin, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Scatter your pumpkin seeds onto a baking sheet in a single layer and drizzle with the olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Bake about 5 to 7 minutes, until seeds are light brown and crispy.
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