Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Smashing Pumpkins

Steamed and smashed butternut squash; a fresh, from-scratch substitute for canned pumpkin puree.

This post has little to do with front man Billy Corgan; if google has led you here for music, please hit the back button.

For those of you left in the room, welcome to pumpkin smashing 101! Whether you're desperate for a can of pureed pumpkin and your entire country seems to be in a canned pumpkin shortage (like me) or you just like doing things from scratch (also like me), you're in the right place.

Just how much smashed pumpkin do you need? I bought half a butternut squash (labelled butternut pumpkin in SG) and was able to smash out about 2.5 cups. Your standard 15 ounce can of Libby's pureed pumpkin contains 1.75 cups. I suggest you keep that in your notes for recipe time.

1/2 butternut squash ~ 2 1/2 C smashed
15 oz. canned pureed pumpkin = 1 3/4 C pureed

Excellent. Now, how do you pick a pumpkin/squash for your own mashing pleasure? Libby's uses "Dickinson" pumpkins, which are supposedly their very own Libby's breed. They look similar to butternut squash, just a lot longer. I've personally never met one of these genetically modified Libby zombie pumpkins, so I wouldn't know what their insides are like until they hit the can, but I've heard tell that using butternut squash = better pie!

Are you ready to smash?

Homemade Pumpkin Smash or Puree

Yields approximately 2 1/2 cups canned pumpkin puree substitute, a.k.a. fresh smashed or pureed pumpkin

1/2 butternut squash (your one and only ingredient!)

Steamed butternut squash chunks, cooled and nearly ready for mashing.
Skins removed from steamed squash.
  1. Wash the skin of the squash and cut into chunks roughly 1"x3".
  2. Place skin side down in steamer basket and steam for 15-20 minutes or until tender enough to mash.
  3. Remove steamer baskets from heat and allow squash to cool completely.
  4. Remove and discard skin (you can scoop away the flesh using a spoon).
  5. Mash squash with a fork or puree in a blender/food processor until smooth (smooth-ish when mashing manually).
  6. Set aside what you need then cover and refrigerate or freeze remaining squash.
Smashed Pumpkin Reflections
Smashed butternut squash, ready for recipes.

The squash had a slight funk to it after it was steamed. There wasn't any funk to the delicious things I've made with the mash, but still, this pre-use funk bothers me.

If you're freezing the leftovers, I'd advise portioning it out into 1/2 cups so you can easily defrost a known quantity at a time.

I really like squash. They keep goods moist and tender, are full of flavor, have a terrific variety of textures, and add nutritional value (a high dose of vitamin A in butternut squash). Try using it in pancakes, scones, cupcakes, breads, soups... the list goes on and on. I think squash are neglected because people find them a bit spooky to prepare, but steaming and baking them - so easy. Don't be afraid to pick one up next time you're at the grocery store (or farmers market yeah!*); you won't be disappointed.

*If you're living in Singapore, check out the Loewen Gardens Farmers' Market this Saturday, the 1st of May. Admission is free and the market is full of divine goodies you'll be hard pressed to find elsewhere. See gorgeous pictures here (by Ivan Ng, a.k.a. NinjaHelloKitty at Flikr. You can see his food blog here).

1st Saturday of the month     9a-2p
75E Loewen Rd, Tanglin Village
6474 0441

Options for the folks back home in the Seattle-Tacoma area:

Thurdays  8:30a-2p     Opens May 20
Broadway Street, between 9th & 11th
see the website for the 6th Ave and South Tacoma info

Pike Place/1st Ave Level:  Mo-Sa 10a-6p     Su 11a-5p
DownUnder Stores: Mo-Su  11a-5p
85 Pike St

Auburn International Farmers Market
Sundays  11a-3p     Jun 13 - Sep 26
A St & 2nd St SW, easy access from Hwy 167/18
Lillie Brinker 253 266 2726

Saturdays  9a-2p     Jun 5 - Sep 25
2nd Ave N & W Smith St, next to library


  1. Isn't the fresh stuff so much better than the canned pumpkin? You can also microwave or bake any kind of yellow gourd to mash - my article on making pumpkin puree is here: http://www.examiner.com/x-23602-Tacoma-Baking-Examiner~y2009m10d16-How-to-make-pumpkin-puree-from-fresh-pumpkins. I also made a great quick bread with pumpkin that I'm sure you could do with squash: http://www.examiner.com/x-23602-Tacoma-Baking-Examiner~y2009m10d29-Pumpkin-quick-bread--moist-gingerbready-and-vegan.

  2. So so so much better! I'll have to try out the pumpkin quick bread soon, it sounds delicious.

    X M