Tips for working with canned pumpkin

It’s an odd fact that a little bit of pre-cooking can rid a batch of canned pumpkin of any of its vaguely metallic or musty flavors. It’s something I didn’t actually believe until a couple of years ago, when I tried it for myself. Like rinsing and “steeping” canned whole tomatoes before puréeing them into a Neapolitan pizza sauce, this little added step has an almost transformative effect on canned pumpkin. Simply put the quantity of pumpkin you plan to use in a saucepan of appropriate size and place over medium-high heat. Stir until the pumpkin begins to sputter and steam and give off a sweet aroma. Let it cool, then use it as your recipe directs. Whether this step actually cooks off undesirable odors or simply releases the pumpkin’s essential oils, I can’t say. In my experience, however, it makes a difference.

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