Pumpkin Pandemonium

Pumpkin Pandemonium

Mini pumpkin
By Alexandra Orlan, Guest Blogger

When I was a girl, every autumn I would spend hours choosing which character I wanted to carve into my pumpkin.  However, pumpkins have other uses than just decoration; They are a delicious and nutritious squash that you can add to your breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Nutrition Info
According to the USDA Nutrient Database, 1 cup of raw 1-inch cubed pumpkin contains  30 calories, 8 grams of carbohydrates, and 1 gram of fiber.  It’s an excellent source of vitamin A, providing close to twice the daily recommended amount. It’s also a good source of vitamin C and potassium. But don’t forget about the seeds! Pumpkin seeds contain calcium, magnesium, zinc, and vitamin E.

How To Enjoy Pumpkin
When pumpkin is not in season, you can buy canned pumpkin puree to whip up your favorite muffin, donuts, or pancake recipe. However, these babies are now in season, so you can make your own puree and roast the seeds too. Medium to small pumpkins like sugar pumpkins are the best to do so, as opposed to those large Jack O Lanterns.

Start the process the same way you would if you were carving your pumpkin; simply cut around the stem, scrape out the insides and seeds (separate the seeds and put them on a baking tray), then cut the pumpkin in half, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast for about 45 minutes (varies depending on size and type of pumpkin) at 400 °F.

To prepare the seeds, let them dry out overnight, drizzle with salt and pepper and roast for 30-45 minutes, or until golden, at 300 °F.

Use the roasted pumpkin as a side dish or add to black bean burgers, risotto, or puree into a soup. The seeds make a healthful snack or add to your favorite salad or trail mix.

Pumpkin Recipes to Try:

 

Pumpkin Muffins_Lexi

Lexi’s Pumpkin Muffins

Makes: 12

Ingredients:
1 ½ cups whole-wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup of solid-pack canned pumpkin puree
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
Heaping ½ teaspoon of cinnamon
1 ¼ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt

Topping (optional)
¼ cup Cinnamon-Sugar

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 °F.  Place liners in muffin tin, and coat with non-stick spray.
2. Whisk together flour and baking powder in a small bowl.
3. In a separate large bowl, whisk together pumpkin, oil, eggs, cinnamon, sugar, baking soda and salt.
4. Add flour mixture to wet ingredients and mix until just combined.
5. Divide batter among muffin cups (3/4 way full), and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar.  Bake until puffed and golden brown and a tester comes out clean (approximately 25-30 minutes).

Alexandra Orlan is a junior dietetics major this fall at the University of Delaware.  She hopes to become a registered dietitian and use her passion for food and health to better others’ lives.

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