Ditch the Can: How to Bake with Fresh Pumpkins, Sweet Potatoes, & Squash

Pumpkin pie! Pumpkin bread! ‘Tis the season when our plates (and palates!) are dazzled with these lovely carotene-rich squashes. Most often, cans are the go-to source for pumpkins – it’s easy, it’s accessible – but so is having it fresh. And for the most nutrition and flavor possible, why not use the freshest, most natural ingredients?

To start, here’s the ratio of the volume of a can to the amount of cups you’ll use fresh in a recipe.

The can to cup ratio for use in recipes.

The process is simple. It’s only time it takes.

STEP 1. Pick the right squash.
Note! Pumpkins you bake are different than those you carve. Also, most “pie pumpkins” are conventionally grown, so we like to mix sweet potato with pumpkin, acorn, and/or butternut squash for a richer, sweeter flavor.

We say: go to the natural source for the most flavor and freshness! Mixing squash and sweet potatoes can also add more richness.

STEP 2. Prepare the squash
Slice the pumpkin/squash down the middle. Scoop out the pulpy inside, and seeds. The seeds can be reserved for later toasting!

Reserve the seeds for later toasting!

STEP 3. Bake the squash
Pre-heat the oven to 375F. The squash face should be placed face down (rind-side out) into a water bath. A water bath is created by filling a baking pan/tray with shallow water. Bake for 35-50 minutes (it will depend on the density of the squash) until the skin is easily pierced by a knife.

Bake in water bath at 375F until skin is easily pierced by knife

STEP 4. Puree the squash (then it’s ready for recipe use!)
Scoop all the meaty inside into a food processor. Blend until a puree-consistency, then you’re ready to get going on all those delicious bread and pie recipes!!

Puree the meaty inside of the squash. It’s now ready for baking recipe use!

Now you’re ready for the season of baking! Thinking about making a pumpkin pie? Check out our recipe for a delicious pie crust. ENJOY!


2 comments on “Ditch the Can: How to Bake with Fresh Pumpkins, Sweet Potatoes, & Squash

  1. Thanks. Been doing this for years. The pumpkin does contain more water than canned, and I’ve found some adjustment is necessary in liquids. Sure tastes better! Ann

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