June 27 • 05:40 AM

It really is the Great Pumpkin

October 22, 2008
TRI-CITY AREA — It transports Cinderella to the ball; wards off evil Halloween spirits; eludes Linus year after year and ends the Thanksgiving meal on a sweet note in November. The great pumpkin. The seasonal orange orb that's as amazing as it is great.

For starters, the plant itself produces both male and female flowers which are pollinated by bees. The shell, when hollowed out, doubles as a candle holder at Halloween or a bowl at harvest suppers. Though the flowers have a short life span, if plucked while in full bloom they're edible and good sources of alpha and beta carotene.

The seeds—when roasted— are also a nutritious snack, loaded with manganese, magnesium, phosphorous, tryptiphan, iron, copper, Vitamin K, zinc and protein. They're high in phytosterols, which are considered heart healthy and have been proven to help lower cholesterol.

Native Americans used the seeds for both dietary and medicinal purposes and they've also been touted for healing properties including having anti-inflammatory benefits in arthritis.

The pulp itself is high in fiber and a good source of potassium and Vitamin A.

Some 1.5 billion pounds of the fruit are grown each year in the United States, with Ohio, Illinois, Pennsylvania and California as top producers.

Though most of the pumpkins sold around this time of year are used for decorative purposes, they make for delicious soups, breads, pies, cookies, and even beverages.

The pumpkin may have gotten overlooked when it comes to the dinner table because they're so much fun to carve. And grow. And toss.

Kids search for the perfect pumpkin at Blake’s in Almont. Along with their use as a Halloween decoration, the pumpkin is tops when it comes to nutritional value.

From jack-o-lanterns designed by kids and grown-ups to giant pumpkin competitions and pumpkin toss events, the seasonal squash-like fruit boosts the local and state economy each and every fall.

Consider getting the most out of your Halloween pumpkin this year—or picking up a couple more to turn into tasty, healthy dishes in the coming months.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Rinse pumpkin seeds, taking care to remove all pulp. Drain and spread out on a cookie sheet and dry overnight.

Preheat oven to 250 F.

Toss pumpkin seeds with olive oil, butter, or spray with cooking spray. Sprinkle with seasoning of choice, including salt, garlic powder, onion powder, seasoned salt, cayenne pepper, etc. Toss to coat.*

Bake about one hour, stirring every 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown.

Cool and store in an airtight container at room temperature up to three months or refrigerate up to one year.

*For extra salty pumpkin seeds soak seeds overnight in a solution of 1/4 cup salt to 2 cups of water. Dry an additional day before roasting.

Pumpkin Soup

1 lb chopped pumpkin

1 oz butter

1 med.onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, crushed

3 cups chicken stock

1 tbsp. tomato paste

1 tbsp. grated

parmesan cheese

Salt and pepper

Chop the pumpkin into large cubes (not using the skin and seeds). Sweat the onion and garlic in butter in a large saucepan until the onion is clear. Add the pumpkin and garlic and sweat for a minute. Add three cups of chicken stock and the tomato paste.Cover and simmer for twenty minutes or until the pumpkin is tender.

Blend mixture in blender or food processor. Serve sprinkled with grated parmesan cheese.

Pumpkin Muffins

2 medium eggs

3 cups flour

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup milk

1 cup canned pumpkin

½ cup unsweetened


2 tbsp.white sugar

4 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. nutmeg

1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

¼ teaspoon of cloves

¼ teaspoon of allspice

¼ teaspoon of ginger

Mix all of the ingredients. Fill sprayed muffin tins almost to top. Bake at 325°F for about 25 minutes. Makes about 15 muffins.

Pumpkin Chili

4 cups water

1 can canned crushed


3 cans red kidney beans

1 can pumpkin

1 cup chopped onion

1 cup chopped red

bell pepper

1 cup uncooked bulgur

1 cup chopped green chili

1 tbsp. chili powder

1 tsp. garlic minced.

1 tsp. ground cumin.

1 tsp. salt.

Drain and rinse the beans. Put all ingredients in a large pan. Over a high heat, bring to the boil. Reduce to a medium-low heat and simmer for 35 minutes.

Castle Creek
Napco Pipe
06 - 27 - 19
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