It's fall and pumpkin season is back!
There's nothing quite like the comfort of savory pumpkin pie spice — with ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.
Many pumpkin recipes call for canned pumpkin puree, but there are a few problems with that. Most cans contain BPA, a toxin that leeches into our food, drinks and bodies. Some studies have shown a correlation between BPA and an increased risk of cancer, and a disruption of hormonal balance.
Most canned foods also contain preservatives and might also leak aluminum. It should be noted that canned pumpkin is a processed food, which means it was most likely heated to very high temperatures and lost valuable nutrients.
Therefore, it's probably best to make your own pumpkin puree. It's super easy! All you need to do is roast pumpkin and puree it. Simple.
Or you can take it to the next level and make it even healthier, by making RAW pumpkin puree. Raw foods are superior to cooked since they contain more vitamins and enzymes. Unfortunately, cooking destroys many vital nutrients and almost all enzymes.
Since cooking converts some of the starch to sugar, roasted pumpkin tastes sweeter than raw. To sweeten pumpkin puree, you can use dates since they're a whole food — with fiber, water and nutrients still intact. If you prefer, you can try some pure maple syrup instead and sweeten to taste.
Raw pumpkin puree
Yields about 4 cups
- 4 cups cubed pumpkin
- 1 cup pitted dates
- 1/4-1/2 cup water, to facilitate blending
Place all ingredients in a high speed blender and blend until pureed and smooth. Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
Note: If you want to make puree out of a whole pumpkin, just stick to the 4:1 ratio — (cubed pumpkin to pitted dates). You can use this puree in a place of canned or cooked puree in any recipe.
And here's a super-delicious recipe to use raw pumpkin puree:
Pumpkin Pie Spiced Smoothie
- 4 frozen bananas
- 1-1 1/2 cups raw pumpkin puree
- 4-6 pitted Medjool dates, optional
- 1-2 cups of water or non-dairy milk, to reach the desired consistency
- 1 tsp. fresh ginger root, minced
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. cloves
- 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract (optional but recommended)
Blend all ingredients in a high-speed blender or food processor until smooth. Taste and add more spices if desired. Serve and enjoy!
Easy tip: You can use about 2 teaspoons (or more to taste) of any pumpkin pie spice instead of fresh ginger and other spices.
If you love pumpkin and/or pumpkin pie spice, I would love to hear from you in the comments below!