Every fall, people mock one of nature’s most nutritious gourds, but there is nothing #basic about the pumpkin. It has so much more to offer than being just a latte, or a pie on your Thanksgiving table, and is so easy to prepare.
Tip: Start with a smaller pie pumpkin, as they are often referred to. The flesh is more tender and the flavour more concentrated than your typical Jack-o-lantern monster gourd.
- Cut the stem off the pumpkin so it is easier to handle and slice your pumpkin down the middle.
- Scoop out all the seeds and set aside (do not throw them out!)
- Using a knife or a vegetable peeler, remove the skin from your pumpkin. You may find it easier to work with if you cut long slices of pumpkin.
- Pumpkin can be cooked many different ways and used for savoury or dessert applications. Steam
- Steam or boil pumpkin simply without seasoning. Once cooked, it can be stored as cubes or mashed and added to any type of dish. Try making a pumpkin soup with some chicken or vegetable broth, garlic, shallots, cayenne, turmeric, salt and pepper. Throw some toasted chopped pecans on top for a nice crunch. For richer flavour, add some cream and butter to the soup and finish. Pie pumpkins mash so easily, you can achieve a smooth texture with a regular potato masher instead of a hand blender.
- Baked pumpkin is also delicious and incredibly versatile. Bake at 350 degrees until tender and golden (30 – 40 mins). Be creative with the seasoning – some olive oil and grey sea salt is a delicious accompaniment to a steak dinner, or make it sweet and spicy with some maple syrup and cayenne pepper. The flavour of turmeric is so mild and the antioxidant benefits are so great that I add it to all my pumpkin and squash dishes.
- For those with a sweet tooth, pumpkin is a great substitute for fats like oil, sour cream and yogurt in most recipes. Or try a creative spin on the classic pumpkin pie using roasted pumpkin, heavily seasoned with cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, turmeric, and a little cayenne kick. Brown sugar, evaporated milk and eggs will round out the filling.
- Now – the seeds! Full of amino acids, they are a great snack to have around or to sprinkle on salads. Wash them well and pat dry on a paper towel. Lightly drizzle with olive oil and sea salt, and toast at 350 F for about 15 minutes (shaking them every 5 minutes to ensure even cooking).
For more information on the humble pumpkin, please see the link below.
What are some of your favourite pumpkin recipes? Share them below!