NVDAILY.COM | Living Well - A Virginia Cooperative Extension Blog

Posted November 4, 2011 | comments Leave a comment

What do I do with all these uncarved pumpkins?

The fall holidays bring more gourds in our homes than any other time of the year. They are part of our centerpieces, fall decorations, carved for Halloween and given as gifts. Instead of throwing pumpkins away, try one of these recipe ideas!

Have you eaten a pumpkin?
Fresh pumpkins can be used in recipes that you normally use canned pumpkin purée such as pancakes, smoothies, pie, and other desserts. You can also put pumpkin in pasta sauces, stews, soup, mashed or roasted with other veggies... yum! Pumpkins are rich in beta-carotene (the vitamin that is good for our eyes, helps prevent certain types of cancer and other diseases), fiber, vitamin b6, potassium and iron. When you choose to eat fresh pumpkins, you are also avoiding all the preservatives and other ingredients that canned pumpkin has.

How to choose the right pumpkin for eating:
Make sure the pumpkin does not have any blemishes (or carved as your jack-o-lantern); it must be a whole pumpkin kept at room temperature or cooler. You may find the smaller sizes are sweet and tender, good for the dessert recipes. However the larger size might be good for multiple recipes over the holidays. Just "gut out" the pumpkin, peel off the skin and either cube or puree the dense edible part; but don't forget about the seeds - they are edible too!

Recipe for the seeds:
Rinse about ½ cup seeds to get rid of all the stringy fibers and place on a baking sheet in a single layer to dry (about 3 hours). Preheat oven to 350°F, spray seeds with cooking spray and sprinkle with a little seasoning (salt/cinnamon/garlic/Italian). Bake 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Be sure to stir the seeds every couple of minutes to prevent them from burning. (Source: Kraft Foods) Try the seeds in dessert bars, added to trail mix or by themselves as a healthy snack.

These are just a couple ideas for your pumpkins; check your cookbooks or search the web for quick and healthy meals using those uncarved pumpkins!

Source: ADA, Kraft Foods

Copyright © The Northern Virginia Daily | nvdaily.com | 152 N. Holliday St., Strasburg, Va. 22657 | (800) 296-5137