Monday, November 9, 2009

Pumpkins

I had a morning to myself yesterday , and I was able to tackle some more of my class work, take a walk, and then work on cooking some more pumpkins. Our store had the little pie pumpkins for 49 cents a pound, and we really love pumpkin in hot cereal, muffins and soup. Pumpkin is very healthy for you, once you move it out of the pastry crust and get rid of the sugars and so forth. Many years ago , it was a staple in the households of colonists, as it grew in abundance thie side of the pond. Pumpkin was not found in the British Isles. At Halloween they carved turnips to scare off the bad spirits. If you have ever cooked a turnip, you get a newfound appreciation for just how concerned they were, as a turnip is not an easy vegetable to carve ! When the settlers arrived in new england, the were introduced to this orange hard shelled treasure chest of nutrition, and used it in abundance. It was roasted, dried, and used for medicinal concernes . It was belived that pumpkin cured snake bites, removed freckles, a cure for prostate problems and bladder problems. One of it's folk nicknames was "piss a bed".

Pumpkin Nutrition Facts
(1 cup cooked, boiled, drained, without salt)

Calories 49
Protein 2 grams
Carbohydrate 12 grams
Dietary Fiber 3 grams
Calcium 37 mg
Iron 1.4 mg
Magnesium 22 mg
Potassium 564 mg
Zinc 1 mg
Selenium .50 mg
Vitamin C 12 mg
Niacin 1 mg
Folate 21 mcg
Vitamin A 2650 IU
Vitamin E 3 mg

As you can see, it is pretty darned good stuff ! I cut mine into strips, peel it, cube and then place in my slow cooker for 10 hrs with about an inch of water. Then I mash it, cool it and freeze in 1 cup packages to use in whatever recipes I choose. Why 1 cup ? It is the exat amount needed for one of our grain breakfasts for the three of us. I soak the seeds in plain water to loosen the stringy goop, and then spread on a cookie sheet to roast ( 350 for 20 minutes). If I could find a way to air dry these I would , because they have their optimum nutritional value when raw. Pumpkin seeds have been used to expel intestinal parasites, soothe irritated bladders and support prostate health. They can help to lower cholesterol and are a good source of omega fatty acids. We use them to snack on, as a topping for salads an i have tossed them in a seed and nut mix.

It's a shame you only find them fresh in the market for such a short time !

6 comments:

Retta said...

Perfect timing for you to post this! We have 10 pumpkins to process today & I was trying to come up with different things to do with it. I'd like to do something healthier than muffins & bread, ya know? I'll be looking for recipes too.
I hope you have a great day!!!

Joanna@BooneDocksWilcox said...

a male coworker swears by the benefits of pumpkin seeds and his prostate.

Kristina said...

Dang! And I thought it just tasted good! lol I had no idea how beneficial it was! Def going to have to try it out in some recipes!
By the way...I havent had a chance to visit lately, but wanted to tell you that your doing a great job! Keep it up!

Diane Fit to the Finish said...

Thanks for posting all this information Diane! They really are full of nutrients. We have about 9 or 10 little pumpkins we picked right from a pumpkin patch. I definitely will do the seeds, but not sure about cooking them since they aren't the pie pumpkins.

The Incredible Shrinking Family said...

Diane, I normally cook the big pumpkin you use for Jack-o-lanterns in the same way. They are a bit stringier, so I puree them with a boat motor/immersion blender. As long as you are not using it in pumpkin pie, it is really hard to tell the difference texturally.The little pie pumpkins also tend to be a little sweet, but once again when using the big ones in baked goods, you can't tell the difference.

Retta- have you ever tried pumpkin soup It is an old colonial dish. Chop up an onion and a stalk of celery,brown it in a little oil,then add 1 can of pumpkin ( or a cup and a half of your own puree) 2 cups of chicken stock , a pinch of thyme and a pinch of thyme. Some people also add 1/4 cup of creamy peanut butter for flavor and protein. It's a very tasty soup !

Joanna, your co-worker is not the only one to use this. They also make a good preventative measure for any male. It is one reason why I keep them on hand in this house ( for son and hubby)

AUTISMOMMA said...

Obviously, you probably don't want to buy a dehydrator just for pumpkin seeds but if you should decide to buy one in the future, it can dry the pumpkin seeds out and they still be considered raw as long as they go no higher than 118 degrees.