The Season for Pumpkins - Ideas and Recipes
Fall is my favourite season - probably because I love pumpkins. Pumpkins can be stored whole for up to 6 months. Except for the stem, almost every part of the pumpkin can be used in cooking. Pies have made the pumpkin famous as a dessert, but they are great in savoury dishes as well. Of course, being an author of a Low GI Cookbook - I prefer the savoury vs the sweeter uses of pumpkin. They can be roasted, baked, boiled or steamed and substituted for winter squash in just about any recipe. You might want to purchase canned pureed pumpkin, which will help cut down in preparation time and is just as good in nutritional content. There are many wonderful dishes to be made using pumpkin that capture its delicious mild, nutty taste. Don’t let the autumn season pass you by without cozying up by the fire with a delicious bowl of pumpkin soup (see below for a recipe).
And don’t forget about the seeds! Pumpkin seeds, also called pepitas, are easy to prepare and make a delicious and nutritious snack. You can also use them to add crunch to your favourite salad or throw them with other nuts and seeds to make trail mix. To prepare pepitas; clean the seeds, shake them in a little oil, season if desired, and bake them at 250 F for 45 – 60 minutes, tossing every 15 minutes.
In terms of nutritional content, pumpkins are full of minerals, vitamins and fibre. The bright orange color of the pumpkin contains beta carotene which is converted to vitamin A in the body. Besides its important roles in vision and bone growth, vitamin A helps bolster the immune system – important to help ward off those nasty winter colds. Pumpkins are also a good source of vitamins C, K and E as well as a source of fibre, which is important for proper bowel function, and helps us feel full and satisfied after meals.
- Serves: 8
- 6 cups of vegetable stock
- 3 ½ lb. of pumpkin, chopped
- 2 yellow onions, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, grated
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- Coarse salt, freshly cracked pepper
- 2 Tablespoons sour cream
- Bring the vegetable stock to a boil in a medium pot.
- Puree the mixture in a blender until smooth and return to pot to reheat.
- Season the soup with nutmeg, salt and pepper.
- Pour into bowls* and garnish with swirls of sour cream, or roasted pumpkin seeds.
*For a festive touch, hollow out small pumpkins and use them as bowls for the soup.