What to Use for Pumpkin Baking - It's not what you think

Tuesday, November 1, 2022 2:55 PM

Just like the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus canned pumpkin is a myth of sorts.  According to the FDA “pumpkin” is “prepared from golden-fleshed, sweet squash, or mixtures of such squash with field pumpkins.”  Essentially a pumpkin is a squash but a squash is not a pumpkin.  They both belong to the Curcurbita family.  What you buy canned is most likely made from a Dickinson Pumpkin (first photo in header) and was developed for Libby’s.  They are actually squash and not so much a pumpkin.  Research says that those little Sugar pumpkins that the stores sell actually are probably the worst for making pies.  Huh, who knew?  Well, we did but that’s beside the point.  

So what should you use you ask?  Good Question.  So many good choices other than what you’ve been told.  You want something with low water content, little to no string, good flavor and vibrant color.  We have available Jarradale (sweet, fruity flesh with minimal stringiness), Pink Banana Squash (tracing back to ancient Peru with a similar flavor to Butternut), Honeynut (a sweet small version of Butternut for when you want a small amount).  Other equally yummy: Fairytale pumpkin, Cinderella, Cushaw squash or Kabocha (Japanese pumpkin).

How to make pumpkin puree.  The main objective is to reduce the water content and allow your pumpkin to caramelize.  DO NOT boil your pumpkin.  Also, much to my dismay, do not use the instant or crock pot.  You want to roast it in the oven at 350 degrees for about 45-60 minutes depending on how big of chunks you’ve cut up.  You will put your pumpkin/squash cut side down if cooking cut in half.  Did mention scoop out all the seeds?  (I know Captain Obvious there but, well, you never know.)  When your sweet delight is finished baking remove all the flesh and discard the skin.  Puree in a food processor.  Tip: cook up a big batch and individually freeze amount you will need for future recipes (most commonly 1 cup).  Then just thaw and voila, ready to use.  For recipe suggestions follow our Pinterest page or stop by and ask us.  We love to share cooking ideas.  

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