In a world filled with convenience and readily available store-bought options, there’s something incredibly satisfying about taking matters into your own hands. It’s a movement towards simplicity, authenticity, and a return to the roots of self-sufficiency. Making your own staples from scratch isn’t just a culinary adventure; it’s a transformative journey that empowers you to reclaim control over what you consume.
One of the most rewarding journeys you can embark on in your own kitchen is crafting your own pumpkin puree. While it’s undoubtedly convenient to pick up a can of pumpkin puree from the store, there’s a world of difference when you create this golden elixir at home; we’re firm believers that convenience is killing us.
The benefits of swapping store-bought items for homemade creations extend far beyond the immediate gratification of making magic happen in the kitchen. It’s a lifestyle shift that brings you closer to the ingredients you use and the food you put on your plate.
Health benefits of pumpkin
Pumpkins can improve your vision
Pumpkins are rich in beta carotene, an antioxidant that your body turns into vitamin A. Vitamin A helps sharpen your vision, allowing you to see more clearly in low light. It also helps support the health of your retina and cornea. Pumpkins are also high in vitamin C, which reduces your risk of developing macular degeneration and cataracts.
They lower your cancer risk
“Pumpkins are packed with nutrients and antioxidants, making them a cancer-fighting food,” said Joshua George, R.D., Clinical Nutrition and Patient Services manager at Inspira Health. “Because they’re rich in vitamin A, pumpkins also lower your risk for certain types of cancer, including prostate and lung cancer.” Additionally, pumpkins contain carotenoids, a pigment that functions as an antioxidant. Carotenoids may lower your risk of developing throat, pancreatic, stomach and breast cancer.
Pumpkins are loaded with nutrients that are great for your skin. For one, it’s high in carotenoids like beta-carotene, which your body turns into vitamin A. In fact, one cup (245 grams) of cooked pumpkin packs 245% of the RDI for vitamin A. Studies show that carotenoids like beta-carotene can act as a natural sunblock
Once ingested, carotenoids are transported to various organs including your skin. Here, they help protect skin cells against damage from harmful UV rays. Pumpkin is also high in vitamin C, which is essential for healthy skin. Your body needs this vitamin to make collagen, a protein that keeps your skin strong and healthy.
Moreover, pumpkins contain lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamin E and many more antioxidants that have been shown to boost your skin’s defenses against UV rays
Pumpkins are a heart-healthy food
“Pumpkins are rich in potassium, which can help regulate your blood pressure, lowering your risk for heart attack and stroke,” said George. “They also contain vitamin C, fiber and antioxidants, which can help prevent heart disease.”
They leave you feeling fuller for longer
“Pumpkins are high in fiber but low in calories, which means they can help you feel full without increasing your overall food intake,” said George. “Because they’re such a good source of fiber, pumpkins can also help curb your appetite.”
The best way to reap the health benefits from this seasonal superfood is by avoiding high levels of sugar and artificial flavoring found in pumpkin-flavored treats. Instead, roast your pumpkin to make a savory soup or side dish. If you’re cooking or baking with pumpkin puree, look for the kind without added sugar.
You can incorporate pumpkin puree a ton of different ways: in yogurt, outmeal, pancakes, waffles, crepes, muffins, toast, legume dishes, to soups, chili, stew or curry just to name a few
So, let’s dive into the art of making pumpkin puree at home, exploring the rich tapestry of advantages that come with it. From taste and quality to sustainability and mindfulness, you’re about to discover why opting for homemade is the ultimate choice.
Pumpkin Puree Recipe
Preheat oven to 375ºF.
Wash the pumpkin to remove any dirt from the outside. Trim off the stem, then cut the pumpkin in half through the top.
Use a melon baller (or an ice cream scoop, or a sturdy spoon.. use what you have on hand) to remove all the seeds and stringiness from the center of each pumpkin half. PRO TIP: reserve seeds to make oven roasted pumpkin seeds
Halve the pumpkin halves and place the quarters cut-side down onto a baking sheet and roast for about 45 minutes, until the skin is dark and puckered. Flip the pumpkin halves over. The pumpkin should be very soft.
Scoop all the pumpkin out of the skin with a spoon, then transfer to a food processor. Puree for about 30 seconds until completely smooth. Now the pumpkin puree is ready to use!
Homemade Pumpkin puree will keep in the fridge for 5 days. Some people freeze pumpkin puree but I personally don’t like to freeze it.
Makes about 2 cups puree.