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Simply Nutritious, Quick and Delicious

Make the most of canned pumpkin

Cup of pumpkin puree

It’s the season of everything pumpkin. While this winter squash can be roasted in an oven and blended into a puree, it is much more convenient to simply purchase canned pumpkin. It can be kept on the shelf ready for it to make its star appearance in everything from pumpkin pie to pumpkin chili.

Canned pumpkin is packed with nutrients. One-half cup is just 45 calories but has 3 grams of dietary fiber, which is considered a high-fiber food. It’s an excellent source vitamin A, which is important for vision, growth and immunity. When choosing canned pumpkin, make sure to read the label carefully. Look for 100% pure pumpkin with no added sugars. Some brands may also sell pumpkin pie filling, which contains added sugar and spices, so be sure to choose the right product for your recipe.

While canned pumpkin makes it easy to whip up a homemade pie, it’s not the only dish this ingredient is used for. Try it in other sweet treats, such as muffins, cookies, and crumb cakes. Include pumpkin in breakfast dishes like pancakes, oatmeal, and smoothie bowls. It can also be mixed into cream cheese for a topping on a whole wheat bagel. In savory dishes, canned pumpkin can be used in soups, stews, and curries. It adds a rich, creamy texture and pairs well with spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. With its long shelf life and convenience, it’s no wonder why this ingredient has become a fall staple in many kitchens.

About the Author


Jenna Smith is a Nutrition and Wellness Educator with University of Illinois Extension, serving Livingston, McLean, and Woodford Counties. Smith uses her experience as a registered dietitian nutritionist to deliver impactful information and cutting-edge programs to Livingston, McLean, and Woodford Counties and beyond.