Source: The Great Gourd Debate: When to Use Fresh Versus Canned Pumpkin
I'm about to tell you something that may shock you: in culinary school, several of my instructors recommended using canned pumpkin over making homemade pumpkin puree. Many reasoned that no matter how much you process fresh pumpkin, it still has a bit of stringy, gritty fiber that can take away from the texture of your recipes, especially in baked goods. I'm of the belief that there's room in the world for both fresh and canned pumpkin puree. What matters is how and when you're using pumpkin. Learn when to use one over the other in recipes.
When should you use canned pumpkin?
- For sweet applications. Ice cream, cake, bread, cookies, and cheesecake take well to canned pumpkin. Its smooth and semigelatinous consistency ensures the sweet treats have an appealing texture. Plus, canned pumpkin has a pretty consistent amount of moisture per can, so your recipes don't end up too liquid-y.
- In a beverage. Pumpkin cocktails also benefit from the smooth, jammy texture of canned pumpkin.
- With a starchy grain. Dishes like hot oatmeal or risotto remain thick from the natural gumminess in canned pumpkin.
- In cheesecake or a spread. Blend equal parts canned pumpkin and butter or cream cheese together to use up leftover canned pumpkin. It adds sweetness, plus it's thick enough to keep the dairy product welded together.
More from YumSugar: Get Into Fall With These 30 Healthy Pumpkin Recipes
When should you use fresh pumpkin?
- On savory dishes. Appetizers, entrées, and other nondessert dishes benefit from the fibrous texture in fresh pumpkin. Plus, if it's a little on the watery side, it won't affect the overall dish as much as it would in a baked good.
- In soup. Puree fresh pumpkin in soup rather than beginning with the canned variety so it doesn't end up tasting like viscous baby food.
- When roasting pumpkin flesh or pumpkin seeds. If you're making pumpkin seeds, then go ahead and roast the flesh like squash in the oven. You can also make pumpkin fries if you don't want to actually puree the pumpkin.
- With pumpkin fillings. For ravioli or lasagna or a pumpkin pasta sauce, use puree from the fresh gourd. It has a more vibrant yellow color, plus it's more savory-tasting than canned pumpkin.
Bottled Seasonal Flavor That's Not a Beer
Beyond Snacking: More Ways to Use Pumpkin Seeds
Taste of Fall: Pumpkin Parmesan Pasta Bake
Follow YumSugar on Twitter
Become a Fan of YumSugar on Facebook