Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Myth: I have all this canned pumpkin puree but I can only use it for baking.

Soup/chili with pumpkin, tomatoes and beans
Answer: BUSTED!

Think pumpkin puree is only for baking? Think again! Pumpkin puree is a versatile product. It’s generally a favorite fall ingredient, when pumpkins are most available. For steps to prepare and freeze your own pumpkin puree, see Many uses for pumpkin.

If you opt for canned pumpkin puree remember that it can be used in so many ways throughout the year when fresh pumpkins aren’t available.

Why find ways to use pumpkin puree? It is low in calories – about 40 calories in ½ cup and it is a good source of fiber and other vitamins and minerals like vitamin A and potassium. Most Americans don’t get enough potassium in our diets but we should because it is important for healthy blood pressure.

Here are some easy – and perhaps surprising ways – to add pumpkin puree to your favorite foods.
  1. Search the web and you’ll find lots of recipes using canned pumpkin puree. The ingredients are simple: canned pumpkin puree, broth, milk, and spices like pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon and nutmeg. Substitute curry powder for the spices for a different flavored soup.
  2. Add canned pumpkin puree to chili to add more flavor, fiber and thickness.
  3. Making a quesadilla or pita pocket filled with veggies? Spreading pumpkin puree on it adds new flavor combinations with the veggies and other ingredients.
  4. Pump up your sweet potato mashed potatoes with pumpkin puree. It will give you a new twist on an old favorite for holiday dinners.
  5. Mix pumpkin puree with cream cheese and add pumpkin pie spice or other spices for a homemade spread.
  6. Add pumpkin puree to yogurt, smoothies or oatmeal along with some spices like cinnamon to make it hearty and sweet.

Can you think of other ways you can add pumpkin puree to your favorite dishes?

Contributor: Ellen Schuster, M.S., R.D., Associate State Specialist, University of Missouri Extension,, 573-882-1933

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