We've all been in the middle of a recipe only to find that the measurements used are different than the ones on the ingredient's packaging. Suddenly you're trying to remember middle school math class, thinking...how many ounces are in a cup? Is a liquid cup different? Why are there millimeters on here? This can be an overwhelming experience, especially for those new to baking. This time of year, one of the most common situations that leads to this confusion is cooking with pumpkin and trying to figure out how many cups of pumpkin are in a can.
It's All About Canned Pumpkin
Maybe you carved a pumpkin for Halloween last month, or you're already in search of a good pumpkin pie recipe for Thanksgiving. Either way, no one can deny that pumpkin season is a upon us! Pumpkins are one of the most popular winter squashes, and they make up some of the best fall and winter dishes. From pumpkin spice lattes to all of the mouthwatering pumpkin baked goods, pumpkins only add flavor and happiness to the colder months of the year.
Some of the best pumpkiny foods are pumpkin bread, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin cookies and pumpkin pie. These pumpkin recipes typically include pumpkin puree, which can be bought at the grocery store in a can. Some of the most popular brands are Libby's and Trader Joe's. A basic can of pumpkin puree is 15 ounces, but there are sometime bigger options. 15 ounces doesn't mean much to most people, bringing us back to our original query- how many cups of pumpkin are in a can?
A 15-oz can of pumpkin is equal to about 2 cups. It's actually tiny bit less than 2 cups, by 2 1/2 tablespoons to be exact. The 29-oz can of canned pumpkin holds about 3 1/2 cups. Many pumpkin pie recipes call for one 15-ounce can of pumpkin puree to make the pie filling, which makes it easy on the baker. A pumpkin cookie recipe calls for slightly less, in which case you can keep your leftover pumpkin puree in the fridge until your next pumpkin baking adventure.
Fresh or Canned Pumpkin?
Some pumpkin lovers choose to make their own pumpkin puree, buying pumpkins from the store, taking out the seeds and turning the flesh into homemade pumpkin puree. This is significantly more work than simply buying a can of pumpkin puree, but it is much fresher and cuts down on waste. In the fresh pumpkin vs canned pumpkin dialog, the discussion centers around taste, texture, and convenience.
While canned pumpkin wins in the convenience category every time, most people feel that fresh pumpkin puree has a more desirable flavor and texture than its canned counterpart. While canned pumpkin is mostly smooth, it can feel a bit like cottage cheese, with small lumps in it. Fresh pumpkin puree, on the other hand, is smoother and more like sweet potato. The flavor of fresh pumpkin is also better, and after tasting it, canned pumpkin can taste a little strange and artificial. An added bonus- if you make homemade pumpkin puree, you'll never need to know how many cups of pumpkin are in a can!
How To Make Pumpkin Puree
If this inspires you to try your own homemade pumpkin puree, the process isn't as difficult as you might think! It's very important to buy the right kind of pumpkin- choose a pie pumpkin or sugar pumpkin rather than the ones you buy for carving. Then, cut it in half and remove the seeds from each side with a big spoon, similar to when you make roasted butternut squash. You can also save the seeds and make roasted pumpkin seeds for a crunchy snack.
Then, place your two pumpkin halves on a baking sheet, to roast until soft. Once the pumpkin is tender, scoop the flesh out from the rind and puree in a food processor until evenly smooth. A food processor can be bought online at amazon or in any store with a kitchen section. The pureed pumpkin flesh will likely be slightly lighter than your typical canned pumpkin puree, but this is to be expected.
Any extra pumpkin puree can be refrigerated for up to a week. If you don't anticipate using all of it in that time, your puree can be put in freezer bags or frozen in ice cube trays, where it will keep in the freezer for about a month. Using your own pumpkin puree means that you can measure it into cups before use, eliminating all confusion surrounding cups and measurements.
No matter the route you take for pumpkin puree, you are sure to end up with a delicious result. Be it pumpkin pie, cookies, or pumpkin bread, it's a yummy way to get ready for Thanksgiving and the holidays ahead!
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