I don’t know about you but I was recently shocked to discover that the canned pumpkin I had been using to make pumpkin pies for over a decade now is not actually pumpkin.
It’s a golden-fleshed winter squash. Supposedly this squash makes for a better textured pie, and with pumpkins being mostly hollow, I imagine for the food industry that using squash instead allows them more bang for their buck.
Is it a big deal? After all pumpkin is a type of squash.
Still, I can’t imagine continuing this farce another season as my freshly carved pumpkin stares at me from the stoop. Something’s just not right about it…
So last weekend, after a marathon day of pumpkin carving, I decided to save a few and make homemade pumpkin puree. It wasn’t half as difficult as I had envisioned and now I have several freezer bags of the orange stuff to use, not only in pie and soup, but I can have a decadent pumpkin dessert at a moment’s notice. My new favorite after-dinner snack is a small bowlful of warmed puree with a little drizzle of maple syrup, topped with whipped cream and cinnamon. Sweet enough, but not enough to make me feel guilty.
One reason to feel good about eating pumpkin: You get lots of vitamin A in just one cup — twice the recommended daily allowance. That’s great news for your eyes, skin, teeth and bones.
And don’t forget to save your seeds when you carve your pumpkin. Here’s how to toast them.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Slice your pumpkin in half, crosswise through the stem, and scoop out the stringy stuff, saving your seeds to toast later.
- Place halves, cut-side down, onto a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.
- Roast, uncovered, for 40-60 minutes, or until tender.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool enough to handle
- Mash with hand masher or mixer.
- Place in freezer bags and use as needed.