This how-to for roasting sugar pumpkins is going to be your go-to for all your pumpkin recipes this Fall!
I think we are all guilty of using canned pumpkin as a lazy way to get that pumpkin flavor in our recipes. What if I told you that canned pumpkin falls extremely short in the flavor department in comparison to fresh pumpkin puree? Is your mind blown yet? If not, run out to your nearest farmers market and pick up a few sugar pumpkins (trust me, you are going to want A LOT of this puree lying around) and follow these quick and easy steps on roasting sugar pumpkins.
So what is the big fuss about sugar pumpkins? Well, besides being delicious and providing the base for all of your favorite Fall recipes, pumpkin actually packs quite a strong nutritional punch. See, you knew I was going to turn this into a nutrition lesson at some point, right? 😉
- Vitamin A – In just one cup of pumpkin puree there is almost 200% of your RDA for this vitamin. Vitamin A is fat-soluble which gives you every excuse to add some fat to your pumpkin puree, also known as baked goods or creamy smoothies! Without fat, this vitamin A will not be properly absorbed (only about 5%, yikes!). Vitamin A is essential for seeing in the dark, production of mucus (protection in skin and respiratory tract), and maintaining the function and overall structure of our skin cells (retinoic acid is technically responsible, but it is a form of vitamin C).
- Carotenoids – Okay, if I said “beta-carotene” would that sound familiar? Well, you’re in luck because beta-carotene IS a carotenoid. Your mind is blown, I know. The most obvious trait of a pumpkin is its rich, orange color. This alone is a pure indication of the presence of carotenoids. Carotenoids are antioxidants that boost your immune system, prevent heart disease, and may prevent cancer. They also reduce inflammation in the body, which wreaks havoc on your system.
- Iron – In just one cup of pumpkin puree there is 3.5 grams of iron (43% the RDA). Iron allows oxygen to be transported to your cells. You bet that’s important! Iron in vegetables is in the form of non-heme iron meaning it is not available for transport right away. Non-heme requires Vitamin C for absorption which is great news because pumpkin is loaded with Vitamin C as well!
- High fiber – In just one cup of pumpkin puree there is 7 grams of fiber! I know all of you fiber nuts are going crazy right now over that fact alone. Why is fiber important? Just because your body can’t digest it does not mean it does not play a key role in the overall health of your body. Fiber has been linked to decreasing heart attack and stroke risk, maintaining regular bowel movements, and slowing the absorption of carbs from your food which reduces blood sugar spikes and allows you to feel full longer.
- Vitamin C – Vitamin C is a natural antihistamine, required for absorption of iron, strengthens the immune system, and promotes healthy skin. To learn more about Vitamin C go visit this extremely informative post by me!
- Low calories – In just one cup of pumpkin puree there is 30 calories! What better way to get a TON of nutrition from one ingredient and not worry about racking up calories.
For those of you who just slept through the nutrition lesson, you may be asking, “What in the world is a sugar pumpkin?” Fear not, my friends, for sugar pumpkins are your new best friend. Correction, if you own a husky, sugar pumpkins are you and your husky’s new best friend. 😛 Seriously, Puma is going to turn into a pumpkin. Micah and I started feeding her pumpkin when she was just 8 weeks old and “pumpkin” is the only word that she responds to. Not kidding, Puma clearly needs training. Haha!
Sugar pumpkins are the sweeter, firmer, and a less-watery option over their larger counterpart that you make jack-o-lanterns with. The large pumpkins have a stringy and watery texture that is not ideal for baking because when pureed it will not be as smooth.
Now, onto How-To roast a sugar pumpkin for puree!
Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees.
Separate all of the seeds from the inside of the pumpkin flesh.
Next, cut your pumpkin into fourths. If you are used to cutting butternut squash, this will feel familiar to you. And, whatever you do, don’t throw away the top of the pumpkin that you cut off, there is quality pumpkin on that thing!
Next up, scrape the stringy portion of the pumpkin out.
Poke with holes using a fork and then arrange on a baking sheet that has been coated with coconut oil.
Roast pumpkin, skin-side down, for about 50 minutes, or until fork tender.
Once done, peel away the skin from the creamy flesh and discard.
Chop up the roasted pumpkin into small cubes and throw them into your Vitamix. If you are using a food processor you may have to add water to get the mixture going. I personally strived for a thick puree and did not want to use any water.
Store your creamy, pumpkin puree in an airtight container or place in plastic bags and freeze for later use.
This puree is so thick, rich, creamy, and naturally sweet. There is a noticeably HUGE difference in the taste of fresh pumpkin versus canned pumpkin. I let Micah taste it and he noticed the difference also and said it was completely different.
This roasted sugar pumpkin puree is a complete game changer to any Fall recipes that you had planned! I plan on using it in soup and baked goods. That is if this little fur nugget doesn’t eat it all like she tried to when I was taking photos:
Oh, and the seeds? Don’t throw those away. Clean them, boil the seeds in salt water for 10 minutes
Top with oil and seasonings of choice, and roast at 375 degrees until lightly brown.
Wa-lah! Pumpkin Spiced Pumpkin Seeds.
I hope I have convinced you to forgo your current love for canned pumpkin and experience the live-changing flavor of freshly roasted sugar pumpkins. When you do, comment and thank me! 😉
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