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Jan 19, 2010 03:40 PM

Do You Need to Cook Canned Pumpkin?

So I bought a couple cans of organic pumpkin at Trader Joe's, figuring it'd be a versatile, healthy carb to serve with various things in various ways.

But there are no instructions on the can. Does this stuff need to be cooked, or will warming suffice?

I guess it's a dumb question; nothing in cans ever seems to need cooking. But I don't know. I was raised on canned food, shirked from studying its preparation (eating it was sufficient trauma), and have pretty much rejected it ever since...

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  1. Warming (heating) will suffice, as the pumpkin was cooked during the canning process.
    What are you planning to do with the pumpkin? Canned pumpkin has many applications: soup, sauce, as a pasta filling, a myriad of baked desserts...

    1. Anything commercially canned is cooked. You can use it in recipes or just heat with butter salt pepper/whatever.

      1. it's cooked, you just need to figure out what you want to do with it. I find it pretty bland, presuming you bought pumpkin and not pumpkin pie filling which is flavored. you could just heat it through and add the spices, suit your taste. I usually cook with it, meaning add it to baked goods, use it in soup,'s very versatile...

        1 Reply
        1. re: geminigirl

          I usually use it for pumpkin bread. One can is good for 2 loaves. Occasionally I'll cook and puree a winter squash for the purpose, but cans like this are handy to have on hand.

        2. I used canned pumpkin without cooking it, primarily in sandwiches. One slice of bread spread with pumpkin, one slice spread with peanut butter - it's a great combo really. I usually cover the pumpkin with a generous sprinkle of sunflower nuts. I suggest using either Walnut bread or 7-Grain bread.

          1 Reply
          1. re: dhnelson59

            Mmmmm I just tried the sandwich! So yummie! Thanks defiantly will have my kids try this

          2. What....? You bought canned pumpkin?

            As geminigirl noted, unless you bought canned pumpkin specifically to be used in a dessert recipe, heat the stuff up, after seasoning it, in a microwave or in a sauce pan with a little butter or something so it won't stick. What are you intending to use it for?

            9 Replies
            1. re: Gio

              I've developed an eccentric cooking style that I can best describe via analogy to garanimals. Mixing and matching proteins, carbs, and fats, and then artfully making it work via seasonings and various potions and magic. No dishes/recipes that you could "name".

              This is the latest addition to my carb palette.

                1. re: pikawicca

                  Garanimals was a mix and match line of children's clothing that was out in the 70's. Oh wait...still is out:

                  I got a lot of mileage out of this Bon App├ętit recipe for Spiced Pumpkin Bread
                  last fall:


                  But I've also used dribs and drabs in plain yogurt and oatmeal like some other folks have posted. Also in a microwave pumpkin butter.

                  May be time to make another loaf of that bread though!

                  1. re: allgimbel

                    But what do these "garanimals" things have to do with food?

                    1. re: pikawicca

                      As the OP said above, the concept of mixing and matching...

                      1. re: allgimbel

                        Allgimbel, that epi Spiced Pumpkin Bread is my go-to for pumpkin bread...people really go crazy over it! I usually add more spices and decrease the sugar but it's fab.

                        1. re: Val

                          I agree on decreasing the sugar. I see it mentioned in a few other CH threads, so we're in good company!

                2. re: Jim Leff

                  I'd be interested in reading about just one of your creations. Would probably give us insights into the types of things that would work for you.

                  1. re: c oliver

                    some ideas quickly springing to mind:

                    1. add to leftover saffron brown rice before reheating on a skillet, to add moisture, body, and a hint of sweetness

                    2. serve a dollop atop simple steamed greens to stave off tedium (drizzle whole with olive oil and tamari and sprinkle with toasted sesame).

                    3. add to biryani and other grain dishes

                    4. mix with egg and breadcrumbs to make pumpkin croquettes

                    5. add a bit to eggy skillet scrambles, along with lots of onion

                    6. vague idea of using it to counterpoint soft tofu in stewy veg soups