Happy Autumn Equinox! Let the pumpkin season officially begin.
When I was younger, the only pie I liked was pumpkin. I still like pumpkin pie and pumpkin scones and muffins and cake and cookies and pumpkin mixed with chocolate and in ice cream and in sourdough bread and in soup and in stuffing and in curries and…well you get the idea. I love pumpkin!
Pumpkin is a type of squash that often gets hollowed out and carved at Halloween. It originated in the Americas, most likely Mexico.
Besides its commercial appeal, it has versatile culinary use. Pumpkin flesh is moist and soft when prepared and can be used in sweet and savoury dishes. It pairs well with curry, cinnamon, apples, sage and of course sugar.
To prepare, cut pumpkin in half with a vegetable cleaver. Scoop out the seeds. Slice the pumpkin flesh away from the skin into cube shapes and lightly coat with a neutral oil (grapeseed is a good choice). Bake in a preheated 350ºF oven for about 30 minutes, or until flesh is soft. Let cool slightly, then purée in a food processor or blender.
Buy a can of prepared pumpkin and open when ready to use.
Tip: Due to its high moisture content, puréed pumpkin doesn’t last long once exposed to air. Use within 1-2 days of opening the can.
Of course pumpkins are more than just a pretty face (or ghoulish one at Halloween). They are a rich source of vitamin A and also contain notable amounts of vitamin C, E and the B complex as well as the minerals copper, phosphorous, potassium and calcium. The seeds contain fibre, protein and mono-unsaturated fats as well as zinc, iron, selenium and niacin. Which ever way you slice it, pumpkins are good for you!