One of the things I enjoy most about eating low-carb is that I get to make my own high-quality ingredients. The issue with commercially available products is not just the amount of additives. Most of the cans are lined with Bipheol A (BPA) which has been linked to many negative health effects and should be avoided.
While I was trying different ways to make pumpkin purée (steaming, boiling, roasting, etc.), I came across a great suggestion from lowcarbsosimple.com - apart from some minor changes, it's the only method I've been using ever since.
Making your own pumpkin purée has many benefits:
- it's free of additives
- it's fresh and has more flavour than commercial products
- you can use different types of winter squash or even combine it with summer squash such as zucchini. This way, you can adjust the net carbs content (e.g. Butternut squash has more carbs than Harlequin squash or zucchini)
- you can add spices of choice to add extra flavour (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, etc.)
- finally, it's easy to store in the fridge or even in the freezer for longer periods
You can use pumpkin purée in low-carb muffins, pumpkin soup, smoothies, brownies, pancakes or try my Pumpkin & Orange Cheese Bread.
Nutritional values (per serving, 1/4 cup / 50g / 1.8 oz):
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Ingredients per recipe (makes 20 servings, 1 kg / 2.2 lb / 35.2 oz):
- 1 large or 3 medium winter or summer squashes ( 1.6 kg / 3.5 lb / 56.4 oz)
Note: This amount will yield about 60-70% purée depending on how much juice you remove. I used Onion, Harlequin and Butternut squash. You can try any type of winter or even summer squash. Using butternut squash will add sweetness but also net carbs and calories.
- Preheat the oven to 150 C / 300 F. Cut the squash in half.
- Place the halves face down on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Transfer into the oven and slowly bake for 1-1.5 hour until soft. Using a fork, pierce the skin to make sure it's cooked.
- Remove from the oven and let the squash cool down. Using a spoon, remove the seeds.
- Scoop the pumpkin meat out into a bowl.
- Place some of the squash onto a cheesecloth and squeeze the excess juices out.
- Repeat for the remaining squash.
- Don't throw the juice away - you can use it for smoothies, soups, meat stews, etc.
- Place the squash into a bowl and blend until smooth.
- Store in a glass jar for immediate use (up to one week) and the remaining in freezer-friendly containers you can keep in the freezer.
Which squash to use?
The sweeter the squash is, the more carbs it has. In general, winter squash has more carbs than summer squash (net carbs per 100 g / 3.5 oz):
- Butternut - 9.7 g
- Coquina - 9.7 g
- Acorn - 8.9 g
- Hokkaido - 7.1 g
- Onion / Ambercup - 7.1 g
- Harlequin / Carnival - 7 g
- Spaghetti - 5.4 g
- Hubbard - 4.8 g
- Pattypan - 2.6 g
- Zucchini - 2.3 g
- Indian - 1.7 g
- Scallop - 1.4 g