Carve it, chop it, bake it, mash it. Roast it, blend it, stuff it, smash it. No, no, no, don’t smash it..eat it! There is more than one way to enjoy the robust flavor of one of our favorite winter squash varieties – the pumpkin. That’s right – pumpkins are a variety of squash harvested in the fall months, typically September and October. High in fiber, vitamin A and vitamin C; Low in sodium, fat, and calories, the pumpkin is a wonderful source of nutrition. Shall we say they’re very “gourd” for you?
All puns aside, we thought it would be fun to explore unique ways to enjoy this autumn treat:
Pumpkin seeds – After you’ve roasted pumpkin seeds, what do you do with them? Besides popping them in your mouth for a snack, try sprinkling them on your favorite soup or salad, use them in a homemade trail mix, or even incorporate the seeds into a breakfast muffin recipe.
Stuff it! – Similar to stuffed peppers, you can bake your pumpkin with a ground beef and rice combo. Try filling it with soup, or dish it up with your favorite dessert inside. That’s right…dessert. Cheesecake stuffed pumpkin is a real thing!
Roast and mash it – You can make your own pumpkin puree by roasting a fresh pumpkin and then mashing or blending the flesh – the inside of the pumpkin. This can be used in pies, smoothies, cookies, and more. You can also freeze your puree to use later in the year.
Roasted with other veggies – Roasted pumpkin adds extra flair and color to side dishes. Pair it with other winter squash or root vegetables, such as sweet potatoes and carrots.
Canned pumpkin – This is a fairly inexpensive, and easy way to create amazing pumpkin creations. Who doesn’t love a homemade pumpkin roll? Get creative and think outside the box: pumpkin mousse, latte’s, brownies, and donuts.
As always, food safety is key. Be sure to wash your pumpkin before using it and don’t forget to wash your hands before and after handling. If you’re carving pumpkins this year, click here to check out some helpful safety.
If you’ve haven’t tasted Pumpkin Pecan Granola, there’s no time like the present.
My advice is to make a big batch so they’ll be plenty to enjoy. It will last two weeks in the pantry or refrigerator. Eat it by the spoonfuls, add milk to make it a breakfast cereal, or put a large scoop on top of vanilla ice cream or yogurt. It also makes a great gift! Package some up to share with family and friends over the holiday season.
At Create Better Health, we love to hear what our readers are making. Comment below with your favorite ways to use pumpkin. For more recipe ideas, click here. Enjoy!
Candi Merritt & Becky Egli
Certified Nutrition Education Assistants