Do you know there are different types of pumpkin puree, outside of opening up a can? We’re going to look at a couple ways to prepare your fresh pumpkin!
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This week, I am taking on a new project. A new kind of project.
From the start, I have had blog posts. Writing is my comfort zone, of sorts. It’s something I know that I am good at, and have made myself cozy here.
But a couple of weeks ago, I introduced you to my new project, video for the blog. It’s something I never thought I would do, but here I am! If you haven’t already, be sure to subscribe to my channel on YouTube and hit the notification bell so you know when I put out new content!
But today, I’m trying something a little different.
Same project, but slightly different delivery. On one hand, you’ll have the text and pictures today, just like any other post. But on the other hand, there will be video, coming next week. I was trying to do it all in the same week, and it was a little bit more of an undertaking than I realized!
You will be able to walk through the cooking process with me as I make food! Exciting, right? I mean I’m excited. Check out all of these exclamation points!!!
Well, I know I won’t be able to do this every week. This is a test run, and it’s already a lot of work for one person. But you never know what you’re capable of until you push yourself out of your bubble!
Update 11/7: So I wanted to get the video out this week, but I am having some serious complications with my editing program. Please bear with me, and I will get the video out soon! I mean, I’m not going to say by the end of the week, but soon. Thank you for understanding. 🙂
Plugs and notifications out of the way, I’ve been thinking about pumpkin a lot.
And not just your pumpkin spice latte, non-dairy almond milk, low-fat extra foam. I’m talking pumpkin, all natural.
And no, I’m not salty about PSL’s because I couldn’t make one for anything last year when I was trying to put a recipe for it on my blog. No animosity whatsoever.
Sugar pumpkins, or pie pumpkins, are usually (and should be) no more than 6 lbs or so. They are made for cooking, so as much as they are cute on your table, they are made for food! So be a dear and don’t let it go to waste, ‘k? (source)
But which pumpkin stands out above the rest?
First, we have canned pumpkin puree. No frills, no fuss, easy to use, and very shelf stable! Just go to your local grocery store and pick up a can. It’s that easy.
My question is, am I giving up flavor for convenience? We’re about to find out!
Second, we have the slow cooker pumpkin. I saw this method for the first time last year, and have used it several times since. All we are going to do is cut the stem off of the pumpkin, cut it in half, and then scoop out all of the seeds and stringy pulp. The original method from Healthy Slow Cooking said to just poke the pumpkin full of holes with a fork, which also works. I have found that the former lets off more water and you get to take the seeds out to roast them!
Also, does anyone have a good recipe for pumpkin seeds, other than oil and salt? Please leave them in the comments. I’m going to have a lot of pumpkin seeds after this!!
Third and definitely not least, we have the roasted pumpkin. As according to The Kitchn, we’re going to cut this into quarters (or eighths) drizzle it with a bit of oil, and then stick them in the oven for 35-40 minutes at 400°F (about 205°C).
As I was reading this amazing book called The Food Lab, Lopez-Alt wrote on how roasting the pumpkin has two major benefits: 1, it relieves the pumpkin of some of its water, concentrating its flavor, and 2, it caramelizes the sugars in the pumpkin, which not only sweetens the end product but adds more depth of flavor.
Sidebar though– If you ever want to learn about food science, The Food Lab has been an absolute delight to read, so be sure to pick up a copy!
I have high hopes for the roasting method, but it seems like its going to be a little more labor intensive.
Onward with the experiment!
Pros: Ridiculously easy. No prep work, no cooking. Shelf-stable.
Cons: Canned puree has a dull, sweet, concentrated pumpkin flavor. Maybe too pumpkin-y compared to the freshly prepared pumpkin counterparts. Nothing really special about how it tastes, but I’m not sure how much “special” you were expecting to come out of a can.
Slow cooker pumpkin:
Pros: When it comes to cooking a pumpkin, putting it in a slow cooker is your most hands-off bet. Especially useful for people who want to use fresh pumpkin, but don’t really have the time to baby it. It has a light, fruity flavor.
Cons: Very watery. Needs to get squeezed with a cheesecloth before pureeing. As it is with any slow cooker, the pumpkin is going to take at least 3-4 hours, depending on your cooker.
Pros: Completely different (delicious) flavor. Carmelization of sugars adds a depth of flavor, just like The Food Lab promised me. Made a surprisingly fluffy puree, but that might have been just from me blending the heck out of it.
Cons: More labor intensive. Roasting took me longer than expected; it took a little over an hour to roast until fork tender. I had to keep checking it to make sure it didn’t burn. Probably should have also wrung some of the water out of the pumpkin because it was a little wetter than I was expecting.
So who’s the winner, between roasted and slow-cooked?
Because let’s face it; there is still nothing more convenient than just cracking open a can of pumpkin.
Convenience: slow cooker pumpkin!
Yes, you do have to wring out the water from the pumpkin, but the slow cooker’s mantra of “set it and forget it” is strong with this method. My pumpkin was done around 3 hours on high, but I left it in another hour just because I could!
Flavor: Roasted pumpkin!
I gotta say, there was nothing like the roasted pumpkin when it came to flavor. Sure, it was extra work, but I am willing to do it! It had this toasty flavor to it that neither the slow cooker or canned pumpkin had. I put it in my mouth and thought, “what can I make that has pumpkin in it, better with this puree??” and then it came to me.
I’m going to conquer that PSL with roasted pumpkin puree.
What’s your preferred method of preparing pumpkin? Let me know down in those comments down below! Oh, and be sure to follow me on Instagram where I am going to struggle with finding uses for all of this pumpkin!