Pumpkins are a super food. They probably won’t make a list as such, but 100 gr. only has 26 calories. They are high in fiber, vitamins a, c and e. Plus, they taste so good, even people who “hate vegetables” will eat them. If you are trying to lose weight, they can your best friend. If you want to talk about hunger in the world, they are prolific and one good sized pumpkin can produce 8 cups of food. Even the seeds make a tasty, healthy snack.
I just got one from a friend, and that’s what prompted this blog. I quartered it, put it in a pan with some water in the bottom and baked it in the oven at 350 until the skin darkened and the flesh was soft. I can’t recommend a time, since they vary so much in size, but I would say about an hour. Then I scooped all the flesh out and threw away the skin, into my garden for compost. I also scooped out the seeds and put them in a shallow pan. I have an oven over my fireplace, so I dried and toasted them there, with some olive oil and salt. This was a decorative pumpkin. They aren’t supposed to be as flavorful as pie pumpkins, but it tastes great to me. I would recommend pureeing them before eating, if you are used to canned. I was surprised at how close to spaghetti squash the texture was.
First, I pureed some and added it to vanilla ice cream with some of the traditional pumpkin spices, to make a lower calorie desert. Very tasty. I added some to my oatmeal this morning, along with some molasses and spices. Pumpkin is not overwhelming, so you can add it to a variety of things. If you live with people who are used to you trying to make everything healthier, and very suspicious, this isn’t kale, it won’t turn your food green, and it doesn’t announce itself. You can sneak it into the meatloaf, oatmeal, and spaghetti sauce. You can serve it openly in breads, cakes pies and puddings. It can go savory as well. You can make soup, or stew out of it. You can use it in place of the oil in cake and cookie recipes. You can serve it by itself, either with salt and butter, maybe some sage, or go sweet and add brown sugar and cinnamon. How about a pumpkin smoothie? Just take some pumpkin, milk, molasses and pie spice, and there you go. Add your protein powder and you are all set.
Ok, so could I torture you with all this talk about pumpkin and not throw in some recipes?
Here’s one from my daughter:
Turkey Meatloaf in a Pumpkin
One 6-inch pie pumpkin (regular pumpkin)
2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped (I used about 1/4 c minced dried onion because i wanted to use it up)
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
1 small Granny smith apple, chopped (I used half a fuji apple b/c that’s what i had on hand)
1 pound ground turkey (1 lb ground beef)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper (1/2 tsp)
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
1 tablespoon fresh sage, minced
1 large egg
1/4 cup dried cranberries (raisins)
3/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
Heat the oven to 400°F. Cut a lid off the top of the pumpkin in a zigzag pattern. Clean pumpkin of seeds and stringy interior, replace the lid, and bake on a roasting dish or deep baking sheet for 1 hour in about 1 inch of water. Remove the pumpkin from the oven and let it cool. Once cool, coat the inside with the mustard and brown sugar. (Here I just used half of a regular pumpkin. no zigzags 🙂 and i saved the seeds for toasting today. YUM! )
While the pumpkin is baking, melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add onion, celery and apple (and raisins) and cook until just softened. Remove the skillet from heat and combine its contents with the remaining ingredients in a medium bowl.
Stuff the meatloaf mixture into the pumpkin, leaving an inch of space at the top (I didn’t leave any space on top, in fact, my meat was overflowing out of the pumpkin) . Place the lid on top (Since i didn’t have a pumpkin lid, i used the roaster lid to cover it) and bake at 400°F for 1 hour.
Let stand for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.
And here’s mine:
2 cups pumpkin
1-2T whole wheat flour
2T brown sugar
1/2-1 C. milk ( I don’t measure, I just eyeball it)
1 t. cinnamon
1/8 t. each of cloves, allspice and nutmeg. You could also add cardamom and mace, if you like. or just add a hearty teaspoon of pumpkin or apple pie spice.
If you aren’t using canned pumpkin, I would puree the pumpkin first, then mix all the ingredients together. I only made this mildly sweet to be a side dish, but you can increase the sugar/molasses and make it into a desert.
Anyway, bake at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes till the top darkens. It won’t get too set, it has a pudding consistency.