Pumpkin Power

pumpkinPumpkin Power

Got a pumpkin you’ve been using as holiday décor? Don’t throw it out—eat it!

While most pumpkins are grown and sold simply to add a burst of orange color to our autumn festivities, their bright orange glow is a clear sign that powerful nutrition must be packed inside that gourd.

Pumpkin “meat” is rich in vitamins A (246% of the RDA), C, E, B-complex and minerals such as copper, calcium, potassium, and phosphorus. Add to that the facts that pumpkin is a good source of fiber and very low in calories and you have some very compelling reasons to venture cooking with this often ignored nutritional powerhouse.

Here’s how to get at the pumpkin’s goodness: Cut off the top of the gourd and clean out the seeds and stringing innards. Cut the pumpkin into chunks; bake skin side down on a baking sheet for 30 minutes at 350F. When cooked and cooled, scrape the flesh off the rind and blend to a puree in a food processor. (If this is too much work, simply grab a can of pumpkin puree—not pie filling—from the market. But as you might imagine, fresh will taste best.)

Try these recipes to infuse some pumpkin power into your meal plan:

Pumpkin Soup

  • 2 c. pumpkin puree (or one 15 oz. can)
  • 30 oz. low-sodium chicken broth (Use less broth for a thicker consistency.)
  • 3/4 cup half and half
  • 1 Tbs. brown sugar
  • Season with salt, pepper, cumin, cinnamon, and nutmeg to taste (Want a bolder taste? Try adding some curry.)

Heat your chicken broth, whisk in puree and half-and-half. Add brown sugar. Season with above spices to taste.

Pumpkin Pancakes

  • 2 cups of your favorite dry pancake mix
  • 3 Tbs dark-brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp pumpkin-pie spice
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 cup canned pure pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Stir together all these ingredients and griddle up some of the most nutritious and delicious pancakes your family has ever eaten!

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