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Thursday, February 27, 2020

A Leap Month of Little Joys and Satisfactions: Something on the Lid to a Can of Pumpkin

I was opening a can of Libby's pumpkin the other week and noticed this on the lid:

Most of us know that you can use applesauce as a sub for oil/butter in recipes. And I think we also know that pureed pumpkin would also work as a fat substitute in baking. But I just thought this was cool that Libby's had this on their lids this year. So, 

  • 3/4 cup of pureed pumpkin = 1 cup of butter
  • 1/2 cup of pureed pumpkin = 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/4 cup of pureed pumpkin = 1 egg
From my own experience, using a pureed fruit of veggie as a fat or egg substitute works best when the substitute is only for a portion of the total called-for fat or egg. That is, if a cake calls for 2 eggs, then I only substitute 1 egg. Or if a batch of cookies calls for 1 cup of butter, I only substitute for 1/2 cup. In addition, there are definitely some recipes where these substitutes just won't work, such as with shortbread cookies. The texture change would alter the final result far too much.

I just thought Libby's cans were cool.


  1. Love this - I'm going to print the picture and put on my frig (I'll glue it on a free magnet that comes with our phones books in the mail). I've used plain Greek yogurt for oil or butter in a recipe. I wonder if you can use extra pumpkin in a pumpkin bread recipe in place of some of the oil? Do you think the pumpkin taste would be too much?

    Thanks for the tip and have a great day!

  2. Since I don't buy canned pumpkin I wonder how that would translate into cooking my own pumpkin or butternut squash? Do you think the substitution would be the same? Same question for homemade applesauce used as a substitution for store bought.


  3. I noticed that on my Libby pumpkin lids this year. Thank you for sharing your tips on the substitutions, very helpful!

    I have enjoyed your Leap Month series so much! It's been exciting to have a post to look forward to every day. Thanks!


  4. Since I only buy Aldi's canned pumpkin, I have never had the opportunity to notice this before, but what a good idea for Libby to do!

    I am not an expert on substitution for fats in a recipe, but I can tell everyone my own experiences. Similar to Lili, I have found that completely substituting a fruit puree for a fat results in a rubbery baked product. I would agree with her that 50% is a reasonable amount to sub in and still have a tasty end-product.

    Shelby, I would try substituting a small amount of canned pumpkin for fat in your pumpkin bread, for instance, if the recipe calls for 1/2 cup of fat, I would instead try a ratio of 2 tablespoons canned pumpkin plus 6 tablespoons of your fat of choice. Too much fruit puree can also make your baked goods overly dense (believe me, I've tried it!). If that works well for you, maybe the next time you could bump up the fruit puree to fat ratio, but I would be careful about it when you already have a lot of puree just in the recipe itself.

    Alice, do you use a food mill for your apples, or do you just cook them down? There is a big texture difference between these two methods which I think might affect your baked product. I've replaced some oil with homemade applesauce in pancakes before ( we do not use a food mill) but that's such a small amount that it hasn't seemed to make a difference. I have the cookbook Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld (yes, Jerry's wife) which is all about sneaking fruit and veggies in food to bump up the nutrition, and she recommends cooking squash and then pureeing it in a food processor first. Maybe you can find that cookbook at your library?

    Oh, Shelby, I haven't used Greek yogurt to replace fats but I use it regularly in place of sour cream with excellent results. I also use evaporated milk in place of cream in a recipe which I find works fairly well.

    With all that said, here's a Weight Watcher's trick I learned years ago--add a can of pumpkin puree to a cake mix, add a 1/2 cup of water, stir and pour in whatever pan you choose, and bake according to the box cake directions. I especially like using spice cake mix and I call it pumpkin pie cake--I top it with whipped topping and my family loves it.

  5. Kris,

    You are a wealth of information! I don't have a food mill but I used an immersion blender after I cook everything down for just about everything.

    I don't bake much anymore since no one in my family needs the sweets (except my husband, he gets treats just because!) I was mostly just curious if the substitutions would work.

    I remember a long time ago making that cake with a can of pumpkin (high school or my early years of marriage). Maybe I should buy a can of pumpkin and a spice cake just to try the recipe.


  6. Alice--I hope my information helped! I was on a Weight Watchers program several years ago and lost a lot of weight through them. I like to bake and I definitely like good food, so it became a challenge for me to learn new methods of food prep which were both tasty and healthy (or health-ish, in the case of desserts!). I did a lot of experimenting and some experiments were definitely more successful than others! Hopefully someone can learn from what I did and avoid the less-than-successful experiences.

  7. Hi Shelby,
    You can reduce the butter/oil called for in most pumpkin bread recipes, by a tablespoon or so. I think the recipe on the Libby's label for pumpkin bread is actually a bit greasy, but still very good. As for subbing extra pumpkin for butter, the flavor wouldn't be too strong, I don't think (there's not much pumpkin in a loaf of pumpkin bread), but the texture might get too dense if you sub for all of the butter. I would do as Kris suggested and sub in about 1/4 of the butter with pumpkin to start. So, if the recipe calls for 1 cup of butter and 1 cup of pumpkin, I would try about 3 tablespoons extra pumpkin for 1/4 cup of the butter, the called for 1 cup of pumpkin, then the remaining 3/4 cup of butter. The flavor and texture should still be quite good, I think.
    Greek yogurt sounds another really good substitute for butter. Thank you!

  8. Hi Alice,
    Yes, home-cooked applesauce and pumpkin is what I've used most of these years. what I've found worked for me is to puree the pumpkin or applesauce (so no stringiness) and then to put it in a sieve over a bowl for a half hour to drain the excess liquid. This should bring you to a consistency similar to store-bought canned pumpkin or applesauce. Kris had lots of good info in her answer to you.

  9. Aww, thank you, Angie!
    I write as much for my own benefit as anyone else! It keeps me grounded.

  10. Hi Kris,
    I never read the book, but I remember seeing Jerry's wife on TV and began adding cooked, pureed greens to homemade brownies. No one noticed! I love your recipe for pumpkin cake. Do you not add eggs, either?


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