We are well into Fall and ready for a classic Fall ingredient: Pumpkins!
Tomorrow, you might have some jack o lanterns out for Halloween, in a few weeks you might have some pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving, and later on you might enjoy some warm pumpkin bread with hot chocolate by the fire.
In any case, pumpkins are in season, and now is the perfect time for you to learn about this fantastic ingredient!
Pumpkins likely originated right here in America. Native Americans and then colonists considered pumpkin a staple in their diets. They were added to just about every meal, and almost every farmer had some growing in their field.
Nowadays, all we have to do is stop by the grocery store or farmers markets and pick up any size of pumpkin we would like. So what are you waiting for? Time to pick up some delicious pumpkin!
Did you know?
The first pumpkin pie was made when some colonists pulled the seeds out of a pumpkin, filled it with milk, spices, and honey, and then baked it in some hot ashes. What a nice sweet treat after eating roasted pumpkin for dinner!
- Vitamin A rich: In fact, there is over 100% of the amount you need in a day in just 1 cup. Vitamin A is important for vision, and building your immune system so add some pumpkin to your diet throughout the fall and winter to help your eyes heal from the bright reflecting snow, and the common cold!
- High in Vitamin C: Vitamin C also helps build immune systems and is a key component to wound healing.
- High in potassium: 1 cup has almost 90% of this important mineral and electrolyte. Your body need potassium to metabolize the carbs from your food, to keep your body growing, to build muscle, and to control your acid-base balance.
Ever wonder what to do with a full-sized pumpkin? Here are some ideas to get your creative juices going:
First: cut off top, pull out seeds, and cut the entire pumpkin into halves (or quarters if it is a really big pumpkin)
Second: Fill a large roasting pan with ¼-1/2 inch of water and place the pumpkin (cut side up) in the water.
Third: Put in an oven set at 300 degrees F for about an hour (or until it is soft when you poke it with a fork.
Fourth: After it is done cooking, and has cooled, cut away the skin and puree the pumpkin in a blender (don’t put the pumpkin in the blender if it is hot, you’ll have hot pumpkin flying everywhere! Ouch!)
Now that you have pureed pumpkin, you can use it for any recipe that calls for canned pumpkin or use it for:
- Making a sauce for chicken
- Creamy soups
- Mix with rice, beans, and veggies for burritos
- Making a fall pasta
- Add to hot chocolate
- Baked desserts (pies, cakes, breads, cheesecake, etc.)
OR instead of cooking and pureeing the pumpkin, you can dice it up and add it to:
- Roasted Veggies
- Salad (after roasting)
And of course, be sure to clean and roast your pumpkin seeds for a healthy protein snack!
Varieties to Try
- Cheese pumpkin
- Cinderella pumpkin
- Jarrahdale pumpkin
- Lumina pumpkin
- Peanut pumpkin
- Pie pumpkin