Pumpkin Woes

I am making a spicy pumpkin ramen this weekend. I wanted to use fresh pumpkin. I can't remember the last time I used pumpkin. I usually go for delicata or other winter squashes. For this recipe, I wanted pumpkin. I cut it in half and roasted a small sugar pumpkin. I was so disappointed. it is more of a yellow color, not at all sweet and not a bit of pumpkin flavor.

I usually buy my produce at 2 neighborhood local Whole Foods type markets, but I was at safeway and their organic squashes were beautiful. A good case for beauty being skin deep. Are there other varieties that would have had that good pumpkin flavor that I was looking for?

My dog Olivia is thoroughly enjoying the pumpkin.

Susan W
  • Posted by: Susan W
  • November 9, 2014


Susan W. November 9, 2014
Final result. I'll tweak the recipe tomorrow and post it. Thanks to all for the good pumpkiny advice. :)

SKK November 9, 2014
My daughter worked for Tom Douglas as an assistant in the dessert department. When they made pumpkin pies they used half sugar pumpkin and half butternut squash. That way they got the flavor and the desired color.
Susan W. November 9, 2014
That makes total sense to me. The next time I make this ramen, I think I'll use both purees for the broth. The new sugar pumpkin blended with the pork stock made a very pretty broth.
Susan W. November 9, 2014
I actually walked across the street to my good produce market and had a conversation with the manager. First, he pointed out that the pumpkin flavor I am seeking is the one I get from desserts. He's right. I make pumpkin cheesecakes, bars, mousse and bread pudding for people this time of year.

I described the sugar pumpkin I roasted and he said it sounded like I got a mediocre pumpkin. So, I bought one from him and roasted it. Much better!! The other one was completely tasteless. This one has flavor and the flesh is a darker orange. Still not as flavorful as butternut or acorn though. Like ChezHenry and others suggested, I may use one of those next time.
ChezHenry November 9, 2014
Butternut squash would be fine also.
Susan W. November 9, 2014
Buuuttt it doesn't taste like pumpkin. The ramen does also call for butternut squash cubes.
Susan W. November 9, 2014
According to chef google, canned pumpkin is often a mixture of several squashes. The FDA lets companies call it pumpkin as long as it's made with hard, sweet, winter squashes. The exception is Libby's. They use 100% Dickinson pumpkins that are grown for them. Coincidentally, my daughter and her fiance recently moved to Dickinson, ND for a year. Desolate place, but I'm going to ask her if she has seen fields of oddly shaped pumpkins.

The ramen also calls for butternut squash cubes, so it will be a pumpkiny and orange broth with flavors of lemongrass and ginger with shiitake mushrooms, pork, butternut and ramen noodles.
aargersi November 9, 2014
Now we need the full recipe please! That sounds so good!
Susan W. November 9, 2014
Abbie, as soon as it's ready and I decide what tweaks it needs, I will post a recipe. For your viewing pleasure, here it is bubbling away awaiting the braised pork and soba (committing a sin and using soba instead of ramen) noodles.
Susan W. November 9, 2014
Annddd...here it is with the shiitakes and pork added. I'll just add the noodles per serving to the individual bowls.
Maedl November 9, 2014
Hokkaido pumpkins have good texture and are usually very good. You don't have to peel them--the skin turns tender when cooked. I think butternut squash is a good substitute. From what I have observed in northern Italy where pumpkin fillings in pasta signal the beginning of fall, butternut is used as much as or more than pumpkin.
Susan W. November 9, 2014
Thanks Maedl. I will see if that squashis available in Oregon.
aargersi November 9, 2014
Lucky Olivia! Ginger loves pumpkin too. Funny coincidence - we made a recipe from "Cooking With Italian Grandmothers" last night - pumpkin tortelloni - but it actually calls for kabocha squash which is somewhat pumpkin shaped, and roasted to that deep orange that you were looking for. And isn't it true that canned pumpkin is mostly butternut???
Susan W. November 9, 2014
Interesting on the kabocha. Did the ravioli have a "pumpkin" flavor? The pumpkin rav that I've had has been delicious, but I can't say it screamed pumpkin.

I went next door and bought a can of pumpkin. Later today, I'll go to my usual produce guy and ask him about pumpkins.

Off to do google research on canned pumpkin. My can just says 100% pumpkin on the ingredients list.
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