Nutrition

Past jack-o’-lanterns and PSL: Cooking with pumpkin

Studying Time: 3 minutes

Pumpkins deserve much more respect than they get from Halloween jack-o’-lanterns and pumpkin spice lattes. Positive, they’re a centerpiece of most Thanksgiving dessert tables, however pumpkin’s taste and diet property make it a worthy a part of on a regular basis fall and winter meals — even with out added sugar.

Together with different winter squash, pumpkins are members of the identical household as cucumbers and melons. Their flesh is water-rich, which makes them decrease in energy than many different starchy carbohydrate meals, together with candy potatoes. One cup of pumpkin has 49 energy, in contrast with 180 for candy potatoes. They’re an excellent supply of fiber, potassium and vitamin C.

Pumpkin’s vibrant shade provides it extra than simply beauty, it makes this spherical squash a wonderful supply of the antioxidant beta carotene, which our our bodies convert to vitamin A. That’s good on your eyes, your pores and skin, and the remainder of you, since antioxidants assist shield your cells in opposition to harm from free radicals, presumably decreasing your threat of growing coronary heart illness and a few types of most cancers. Different eye- and skin-healthy antioxidants in pumpkins are the phytonutrients lutein and zeaxanthin, which analysis suggests might cut back the chance of cataracts and gradual the event of age-related macular degeneration.

Choosing the proper pumpkin

Whether or not you might be selecting seeds for subsequent yr’s vegetable backyard or perusing the pumpkins in your grocery retailer with the intent to eat them relatively than carve them up on your entrance porch, select varieties described as “candy” or “pie” pumpkins. They’ll have higher taste and a extra pleasing texture. Additionally they are typically smaller in dimension, making it extra manageable to roast and puree them. From there, why not attempt:

  • Reducing roasted pumpkin into cubes and including them to a salad or soup.
  • Including a cup of pureed pumpkin to your favourite hummus recipe.
  • Stirring pureed pumpkin and pumpkin pie spices into oatmeal or Greek yogurt, or mixing into your morning smoothie.
  • Swapping pumpkin for a part of the candy potatoes in your candy potato casserole to lighten it.
Cooking your pumpkin

As with different winter squash, you possibly can roast a pumpkin complete, however reducing it in half—from high to backside—or into wedges permits you to scoop out the seeds to roast individually as a snack. Right here’s what to do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Flip the pumpkin on its aspect, and use a pointy knife to slice the highest, together with the stem, off the pumpkin. Lower the pumpkin in half, from the highest to the underside. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and stringy insides.
  3. Lower every pumpkin half into wedges, then place them skin-side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Roast for about 45 minutes, till fork-tender.
  4. Take away the pumpkin from the oven, and funky till it’s simply cool sufficient to deal with, about 10 minutes. Take away and discard the pores and skin.
  5. (Elective) Switch the pumpkin flesh to a meals processor or blender and purée till easy.
  6. Retailer the roasted pumpkin in a lined container within the fridge for as much as 5 days.

Not everyone seems to be up for making their very own pumpkin puree, which isn’t any downside in the event you personal a can opener. In the event you go for canned pumpkin, make sure you purchase plain pumpkin (the one ingredient ought to be pumpkin) and never pumpkin pie combine, which has added sugars.


Carrie Dennett is a Pacific Northwest-based registered dietitian nutritionist, freelance author, intuitive consuming counselor, creator, and speaker. Her superpowers embrace busting diet myths and empowering ladies to really feel higher of their our bodies and make meals selections that help pleasure, diet and well being.

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