Can’t find any canned pumpkin in stores? Try pie againIt may take a month or so for canned pumpkin to be widely available again. In the meantime, check out one of these substitutes for recipes that call for pumpkin.
It may take a month or so for canned pumpkin to be widely available again. In the meantime, check out one of these substitutes for recipes that call for pumpkin:
- Go organic. Check out your grocery store’s organic foods section. Canned organic pumpkin often comes from West Coast states like Oregon, which enjoyed a good crop in 2009, according to The New York Times’ Diner’s Journal. Be forewarned: There’s a price for the convenience of canned cucurbit. Organic brands may command anywhere from $3 to $4 per can.
- Puree your own. As this year’s local fresh-pumpkin crop looks great, you can always make your own puree. Pureed pumpkin freezes well. Just remember to pass up the big carving pumpkins; ornamental varieties tend to be large, mostly hollow and produce a watery, bland flesh. Pie varieties – sugar pie, winter luxury, deep red and golden cushaw – are smaller, denser and sweeter.
To cook, quarter a couple of small sugar pumpkins, scraping out all seeds and fibers. Roast the pieces flesh-side up in a 350-degree oven for about an hour and a half. Scoop out the flesh, process in a food processor or good blender and then let the puree drain through a coffee filter or a couple of layers of cheesecloth.
To cook it, bring a large pot of water to boil on the stove. Cut open the squash, scrape out the seeds, cut it into quarters and place in boiling water. Cook for 20 to 30 minutes, or until flesh is very soft. Drain, discard the skin and puree or mash the flesh. Firm it up by straining as described above.
- Squash all doubters. The difference between canned pumpkin and cooked, pureed butternut or acorn squash is almost imperceptible. Roast or boil the squash the same way you would a pie pumpkin (see above).
Or if you’re strapped for time, cook the squash in the microwave. Cook whole, clean squash in the microwave oven for 4 minutes. Turn over and cook another 4 minutes. Cut squash in half and remove seeds (it’s much easier to do this once you’ve cooked it a bit.) Place it on a plate and return to the microwave for another 3 minutes (or until done).
E A sweet substitute. In a pinch, you can substitute baked, mashed sweet potatoes for pureed pumpkin, says Julie Garden-Robinson, food and nutrition specialist with the NDSU Extension Service. You will notice some texture and flavor differences when substitutions are made, particularly with sweet potatoes. “Many recipes that contain pumpkin also contain spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg, so you are less likely to notice the difference as a result of the added spices,” Garden-Robinson says.