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PumpkinsFall is the season of pumpkins.  We see them everywhere.  Most of us have at least one pumpkin on our porch or near our front door. If you have not cut into it you may want to get some health benefits from your purchase.  The pumpkin seeds are nutritious being high in protein, fiber, magnesium, zinc and phytosterols, as well as delicious.  Below is a recipe to toast the pumpkin seeds that is quick and easy.  My family buys pumpkins just to get the seeds.

The color of pumpkin lets you know that it is high in beta carotene (Vitamin A) but it is also high in fiber and potassium with little fat and sodium.  With only 50 calories per 1 cup it can be a good choice for eating, but it is rather sour tasting without adding sweetener.  Thus, we usually add pumpkin to other food mixtures to eat.

Pumpkin pie is a favorite and can be fairly healthy if we use fat-free evaporated milk and cut the sugar in half.  Most people can’t tell the difference and its less fat, sugar and calories.  My mother likes to make her pies without the crust so it is even healthier.  However, my family thinks it needs the crust.  Pumpkin pudding can be easy to make by just adding 1 cup of pumpkin and 1teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice to an instant pudding mix and decreasing the milk to 1-1/4 cups.  What are your favorite pumpkin recipes?   Please share some with us.

Do you have a pumpkin on your porch for decoration that you have not cut up?  You can freeze the pulp and use it in recipes.  First, wash the outside of the pumpkin, cut into sections, and put the pieces with the rind up on a greased baking sheet.  Bake at 325°F for 1 hour or more until the pumpkin is soft.  Remove the rind and put the pulp into the food processor to process until mashed.  If it is not thick enough to stand in peaks, simmer it on top of the range in a saucepan for 5 to 10 minutes.  Put into freezer bags the amount you can use at one time and leave some space at the top for expansion.  Freeze.  The product can be used like canned pumpkin.

Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

Wash the seeds removing the strings the best you can.  Mix together 1 teaspoon salt to 2/3 cup of water and add seeds.  I use a glass measuring cup to soak the seeds overnight in salt water.  Drain the seeds and put on a baking sheet.  Put in the oven at 300°F for about 20 minutes or until golden.  Eat.  Enjoy!

References:

USDA National Nutrient Database at http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/search/

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