While a delicious and popular coffee drink, “Pumpkin Spice” can also be added to your table as the leaves flame and winds begin to bluster. These recipes will warm up your family with delicious and healthy meals and treats using healthy and delicious pumpkin.
Pumpkin as a Vegetable
While we celebrate pumpkins in the fall and use them to carve fun and frightening jack-o-lanterns, it’s important to remember that pumpkins are a source of fiber, vitamins and minerals. The meat and the seeds of the pumpkin offer proven health benefits while being low in calories and fat content. Pumpkin can be served in a variety of dishes once it’s harvested.
To make the most of your pumpkin, buy smaller ones that aren’t used for carving jack-o-lanterns. Cut the pumpkins in half or in smaller pieces so that they fit into a roasting pan. Scrape out the seeds to roast later. Place the pumpkin pieces into a roasting pan with a few cups of water, and bake with the lid on for 30 minutes at a time at 350 degrees. Check the pumpkin periodically – it’s done when the meat is tender (poke it with a fork). Scrape it out from the rind and puree in a blender, then package in 2-cup portions and freeze.
A Warm and Hearty Soup
Once the pumpkin meat has been harvested, it can be used in many recipes, including a delicious soup. Sauté carrots, celery, onion and garlic in a large pot. Add four cups of pumpkin, one chopped green apple, 1/2 cup apple cider (juice will also work), and a teaspoon or two of pumpkin pie spice. Simmer for about 15 minutes. If you desire a smoother soup, run it a bit at a time through your blender and place it back in the pot to reheat.
The Secret Ingredient
Pumpkin, like fruit puree, can be used in baking to lighten recipes like brownies, cookies and cakes. Many times, apple sauce is used, but pumpkin puree can be used in the same way. Make a batch of brownies using pumpkin puree as a substitute for the butter or oil – the texture will be slightly different, but it will be worth sneaking in the health benefits of this vegetable.
Pumpkin can be used a couple of different ways in this recipe and largely depends on your personal preferences. Incorporate your freshly harvested pumpkin into delicious bread or mousse (or both). Grab your trifle bowl and create a beautifully layered dessert for your table. Start with a layer of pumpkin bread on the bottom, cut into cubes. Add a layer of mousse or pudding, then whipped cream followed by chocolate shavings. Add another layer of each, then set out and get ready for the appreciation you’ll receive for such a lovely and delicious dessert.