Pumpkins aren’t reserved for the month of October and jack-o-lanterns. They are in season from September to March and are an inexpensive and healthy way to spice up your dishes. They come in so many lovely, tasty varieties – both known as pumpkins or squash.
I just got into making my own pumpkin purée this year. I don’t know why I always imagined it was a tedious task that would take forever to make. I found it was quite easy to make!
When making pumpkin purée they say that the smaller the pumpkin, the better it is for cooking and baking purposes. I prefer to use the Hokkaido Pumpkin, also known as the Japanese Squash, because it’s small, packs a lot of flavor and it’s easy to work with. Plus it’s more readily available and affordable in my local stores than any other type of pumpkin, so go with whatever is easiest for you.
When I make my own purée:
Preheat my oven to 160 C
Wash and dry the pumpkin
Cut it in half and cut off the ends
Using a spoon carve out the stringy flesh and the seeds from the center and set it aside (Don’t throw them out!).
Using a good potato peeler, peel off the tough, orangey skin and also an extra layer or 2 more to remove the bitter shell.
Cut the halves into quarters, place them on the baking tray lined with parchment paper and place them in the oven for 20-30min or until tender.
When finally tender enough to easily be pierced by a fork, remove from the oven and let them cool before puréeing them with a blending wand/food processor/blender.
Voilà! You now have 100% natural, unsweetened pumpkin purée that can be used right away or stored in your fridge to use during the week. :)
One of the yummy things you can make with your freshly-made pumpkin purée are, of course, pancakes!
Ingredients (makes 4-5 pancakes)
1/4 cup flax seed meal
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup oats (I used spelt oats)
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
2 scoops whey protein powder (I used Vanilla flavor)
2 tsp. stevia or sukrin
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg (optional)
For vegan option (which I personally use): substitute the eggs with 2 tbs of chia seeds that have been soaked in 1/2 cup of water in a separate bowl for 5-10 min. Stir well before adding to wet ingredients.
Possible substitutes: If you don’t have coconut flour or milk at hand, but still want to keep the recipe gluten- and lactose free, you can use spelt flour or lactose-free milk instead. You can also use canola or sunflower oil instead of coconut oil. If you don’t have protein powder, then leave it out and substitute with vanilla extract and an extra 1/4 cup oat flour and 1/4 cup coconut flour, for example.
Optional add-ins: chopped pecans or walnuts, raisins, coconut flakes, chia seeds.
Make your flax seed meal by grinding flax seeds in a blender till powdery, then put in medium bowl.
Add all dry ingredients to medium bowl and mix well.
In small bowl mix all wet ingredients, then fold into medium bowl and mix till batter is smooth.
Mix in any add-ins here.
Heat non-stick pan on medium heat, you don’t want it to be too hot. Use cooking spray if you think your pan might have tendency to stick.
NB! Since the batter is slightly thick, you’ll need to use your spoon to form and flatten out the batter to shape the pancake on the skillet. The medium heat will also prevent you from over-cooking the pancake which can result in the whey protein becoming rubbery.
Give each side approximately 1 minute and remove from heat.