Pumpkins mark the arrival of the autumn harvest. While most of us scout around for perfect pumpkins to carve and display, some of us dream of the many delicious ways to enjoy this often overlooked super fruit. Beyond the traditional pumpkin pie, fresh pumpkins are a squash that can be used tastily for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
As a healthy food choice, pumpkin packs quite a nutritious punch. It’s jam-packed with antioxidants and alpha and beta carotene while weighing in on the light side in calories. One cup of cooked pumpkin flesh contains 3 grams of fiber. One cup of pumpkin seeds provides an impressive 8 grams of protein.
Garden-fresh pumpkins will preserve in a cool location away from direct sunlight for up to three months. Freezing or canning your pumpkin will preserve your homegrown goodness even longer. To prepare a pumpkin for preserving, first quarter the pumpkin and scoop the seeds and the strings away. Then, lay the four pieces skin-side down on a roasting pan. Add enough water to cover the bottom of the pan, and bake it at 300 degrees for an hour, or until the pumpkin is tender. Remove it from the oven, allow to cool, and then peel the skin from the flesh. The pumpkin’s flesh can then be cubed or pureed and frozen in plastic freezer bags, or it can be canned.
Whether you preserve it yourself or buy it at the store, pumpkin is available for your eating pleasure year-round. Once your freezer and pantry are stocked with delectable pumpkin, check out these healthy recipes we’ve collected to help you transform your stash into a yummy meal, snack or treat.
- Pumpkin Waffles – Faced with a busy morning? Start your day right with this delicious breakfast. Top with creamy Greek yogurt, some fruit, and nuts for a well-balanced beginning.
- Pumpkin Salad – This tantalizing salad couples the zingy flavor of ginger with the mellow sweetness of fresh roasted pumpkin for a jazzy harvest-time side dish. You can find ginger root at your local grocery store in the produce department.
- Pumpkin Smoothie – As sinfully creamy and smooth as a pumpkin milkshake, but it’s healthy. Morning time, or anytime.
- Pumpkin Stew in the Shell – Young and old will enjoy this savory dish served up right in the pumpkin shell. This chunky beef and vegetable stew will be as delightful and memorable as it is tasty.
- Pumpkin Seed Granola – Need a snack? A special fall treat, this granola with pumpkin seeds is nut-free and grain-free but chock-full of highly nutritious crunchiness.
- Pumpkin Soup – This simple soup can be prepared in a snap. Warm and soothing. Heart-warming and heart-healthy. Perfection.
- Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins – With the cream cheese filling and nutty topping, these muffins are positively gourmet. But don’t be intimidated. They whip up quick and easy, and the result is simply delicious.
- Pumpkin Bread – This recipe is reserved for only the freshest of pumpkins. With its use of shredded pumpkin and the seeds, there is hardly any waste. Waste not, want not, and this recipe will leave you wanting nothing more than another slice.