It’s that time of year. Pumpkin is making its way into lattes, muffins, and more.
But it doesn’t appear on plates often enough as, well, just pumpkin.
Like most deep-orange veggies, pumpkin is rich in vitamin A from carotenoids. Each half cup of mashed, cooked pumpkin has more than a day’s worth. And it comes with a decent dose of potassium and fiber…all for only 25 calories.
Here’s what to do with fresh pumpkin.
Look for sugar pumpkins, which are smaller and more flavorful than their jack-o-lantern cousins. Cut off the top and bottom ends, then cut in half. Remove the seeds—you can toast them later—and the pulp. (An ice cream scoop works well.)
Cut the pumpkin into slices, or peel and cut into chunks. Then toss with olive oil and season with ground cumin, coriander, or cinnamon. Roast in an oven at 425º F until tender and browned in spots—about 25-35 minutes.
Eat the slices like you would slices of cantaloupe. You can serve the chunks as is, or mash like potatoes. Add a handful of chopped walnuts or pecans if you like.
Got leftovers? Turn them into a creamy soup by puréeing with caramelized onions and vegetable stock.
Or start with pumpkin purée.
If you want to cook with pumpkin when there are none in the store, or you need less than an entire pumpkin, or you just don’t feel like peeling, seeding, chopping, and cooking…there’s an easier way: purée.
Brands like Farmer’s Market and Pacific sell pumpkin purée in shelf-stable cartons. Look for them at a health food store or in the “natural foods” section of your supermarket.
The ingredient list: pumpkin. Period.
Try adding the purée to your pasta sauces, curries, risottos, or oatmeal.
Photos: FomaA/fotolia.com (top), Paige Einstein/CSPI (bottom).
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