Saturday, November 14, 2009

10 Way to Eat Pumpkin & Like It!

I baked off some sugar pumpkins.  I am having some of my past students over for dinner and will make a nice Moroccan pumpkin soup and freeze some puree for other dishes too.  The rest of my pumpkins should last until Christmas so I will just leave them be as they aren't creating a large carbon footprint adorning my dining room!  I had to bring them in off the porch as our hard frosts have started.  Here is my dog Angel with the sugar pumpkins and also a yellow pumpkin I bought at the market.  I will dry and save seeds from all of them for next year's garden.

The Hallowe'en pumpkins are typically the cucurbita maxima.  I use pumpkin and squash interchangeably in most recipes depending on what I have on hand.  Canned "pumpkin" puree in Canada is usually made from dense orange squash like butternut.

I notice that pumpkin is usually eaten in pie but it doesn't get centre stage for much else and it really should!  It is high in fibre, vitamins A and C and antioxidants.  Sweet potatoes are usually imported but pumpkin is a good food to help eat localThe pumpkins I have were grown by my neighbours Sharon and Murray Becker of Becker's Berry Patch. They are pretty famous in these parts for their strawberries.

I tried an Italian pumpkin this year in my garden and it was a bit of a failed experiment.  They never turned orange!  This was as orange as they got.  I did use them when small though like I use zucchini.  Maybe one of you knows about these beastie pumpkins?

Pumpkin is eaten around the world in a much more serious fashion.  It is the basis of many vegetable curries in Africa and the Caribbean.  A Moroccan tagine comes to mind.  In some parts of Europe it is common to add a chunk of pumpkin to simmering chicken broth to add a golden hue and a sweet rich flavour. You can also make a really nice vegetable pie or quiche with pumpkin.   I made a list of all the various ways I used pumpkin.  You probably have others you can suggest.

  1. Toasted pumpkin seeds
  2. Pumpkin Pancakes
  3. Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins
  4. Pumpkin Cheesecake
  5. Stewed Pumpkin with Chiles and Feta
  6. Pumpkin Butter (Slow Cooker)
  7. Pumpkin Soup - a spicy curry, with coconut milk mainly
  8. Sweet Spiced Pumpkin Pickles
  9. Pumpkin and rice (also risotto)
  10. Savoury Pumpkin Quiche


The dark orange vegetable family, which also includes winter squash, sweet potatoes and carrots, outshines all others in vitamin A content.  They are also packed with fibre, antioxidants, vitamins B6, C and K as well as calcium, potassium and folate.  The flesh of the pumpkin is low in calories and fat and, as its bright orange colour suggests, is an excellent source of the antioxidant beta-carotene which our body converts to vitamin A. Research has found that a diet rich in beta-carotene can reduce your risk of developing certain cancers and helps prevent heart disease. Beta-carotene also maintains good vision and fights infection.

© Nancy Guppy, RD, MHSc
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