|Pumpkins make me smile!|
Note: There will be links and recipes at the end of this page...be sure to scroll all the way down for some amazing ideas!
|This color is one of the most cheerful I know.|
As for me, I like to figure out as many ways as possible to incorporate pumpkin in the diet of my family because of how good it is for your skin and your overall health. That bright orange color fairly shouts beta-carotene!!!!! Doesn't it? With good reason. Pumpkins are stuff full of beta-carotene that your body converts to vitamin A.
I'll be talking a lot about super foods in this blog, and pumpkins are number one on my list! The reason for this is because incorporating pumpkin into your daily diet is pretty darn easy. You can prepare your very own pumpkin puree and freeze it.
Never can pumpkin puree, the USDA has determined that the home canning process is inadequate to guarantee against the formation of botulism in pumpkin puree because there is no way to ensure that the entire contents of every jar reach the proper temperature.When looking for pumpkins to cook for your puree, look for the smaller pumpkins. They will be sweeter, more tender, and have a deeper color than the pumpkins that are bred for Jack-o-lanterns. You can certainly eat any pumpkin, but those larger pumpkins tend to be stringy, full of water and very little flavor.
I like to do a huge batch of pumpkin all at the same time. I like to bake my pumpkin because it gives a slightly roasted flavor and a deeper color to the puree. Cut the pumpkins in half, scoop out the seeds (save these, they are chock full of magnesium that helps to counteract the effects of stress...there's a recipe for these in my Pumpkin Lore article in Acreage Life Magazine.
I fill cookie sheets full of pumpkin halves and place them in a 350 degree oven. After about 30 - 45 minutes, check and see how they're doing. You want the flesh to be completely soft. Pull them out of the oven and allow to cool somewhat. When you can easily handle the pumpkin halves, scoop out the cooked flesh and place into a bowl. I use my Kitchen-aid countertop mixer to beat the pumpkin into a puree.
What I do is place about a cup of the puree in small freezer zip-lock bags, press out all the air, and press them flat on the counter. This way they will take up much less room in my freezer. This way, whenever I want to add pumpkin to anything I am cooking, I have it ready to go. I mix pumpkin in soups, stews, casseroles, spaghetti sauce, meatloaf, and my family is none the wiser for it!
My absolute favorite way of cooking with pumpkin is to cook a casserole inside a pumpkin. When I do it for the entire family, I pick a medium sized pumpkin and make sure it will sit flat and that it will fit inside my oven. One time I didn't do this and dinner didn't turn out exactly the way I had planned it!
The time I made the kids their very own casserole with individual pumpkins was the best hit ever. All I did is make a macaroni and cheese bake, spooned it into the little pumpkins that had been cleaned out and baked it in the oven until the pumpkin was cooked. It was delicious, and even if the kids didn't eat all of the pumpkin, they ate a whole lot more than they would have otherwise!
|This guy won't fit in my oven...but the one behind him might...|
This one is a lovely recipe for pumpkin gnocchi and sage butter from Cookography. I found it on A Tea Lover's blog where she added some of her own pictures. Try this one out!