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Do you have recipes for cooking pumpkin?

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It’s that time of year again. Leaves are changing, mornings are frosty and pumpkins are dotting walkways and doorways. In addition to being a welcome sign of fall, pumpkins are also a welcome sign at the table. The bright orange color of pumpkins is a dead give away that they are loaded with the antioxidant beta-carotene (a pro-vitamin to vitamin A). Vitamin A is vital for eye health and promotes healthy skin and strong bones. Antioxidants are beneficial for heart health and may reduce the risk of some types of cancer. Pumpkin is naturally low in fat and sodium. In addition to vitamin A, pumpkin is an excellent source of fiber and a good source of potassium and vitamin C. Pumpkins are not just for pies, but can be used in side dishes, soups, breads and other desserts. Choose smaller pumpkins for cooking since they are more tender and flavorful. Cook fresh pumpkin like any other squash. Cut the pumpkin into chunks and simmer for 30-40 minutes until tender. Puree the pumpkin and use in your favorite recipe. For more convenient cooking, purchase canned, pureed pumpkin. Make pumpkin ice cream by mixing 1 quart softened vanilla ice cream with 1-1/2 cups pumpkin puree and 1 to 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice. Or, try a breakfast smoothie by blending pumpkin puree, yogurt, milk and cinnamon together for a quick nutrient-packed breakfast. Consider these additional recipes for your autumn table. Pumpkin Fluff Dip

1 small package instant vanilla pudding mix

1 (15 oz.) can solid pack pumpkin

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1 (16 oz.) container frozen whipped topping

In large bowl, mix pudding, pumpkin and spice together. Fold in whipped topping. Chill until ready to serve. Serve with graham crackers, gingersnaps, apple slices or other fruit. Makes 3 cups. (source: homecooking.about.com)

Pumpkin Sauce for Pasta

1-2 lb. pumpkin, seeded and cut into chunks

1 cup vegetable or chicken broth

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 onion, finely chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon dried parsley

1/2 cup evaporated milk

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

salt and pepper to taste

Note: You can substitute one can pureed pumpkin for fresh pumpkin cooked in broth.

In large sauce pot, add pumpkin chunks and broth. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer until pumpkin is tender, about 20 minutes. Mash pumpkin into a puree. Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil until tender. Stir onion, garlic, parsley, milk and seasonings into pumpkin puree. Pour over hot cooked pasta and serve. Note: if using canned pumpkin, add vegetable or chicken broth to the puree if sauce is too thick. Serves 3 to 4.

Pumpkin Cranberry Bread

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

3 cups granulated sugar

1 can (15 oz.) LIBBY'S 100 percent Pure Pumpkin

4 large eggs

1 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup orange juice or water

1 cup sweetened dried, fresh or frozen cranberries

Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease and flour two 9 x 5-inch loaf pans. Combine flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Combine sugar, pumpkin, eggs, oil and juice in large mixer bowl. Beat until just blended. Add pumpkin mixture to flour mixture; stir just until moistened. Fold in cranberries. Spoon batter into prepared loaf pans. Bake for 60 to 65 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

(source: verybestbaking.com -- Libby’s Pumpkin)

Easy Pumpkin Soup

1 pumpkin about 4 pounds

2 cups milk or light half and half

3 cups chicken broth

1 cup grated cheese

3 cups seasoned croutons

Cut a lid from top of pumpkin. Remove and discard seeds and fibers. Alternate layers of croutons and cheese in pumpkin. Add chicken broth and milk. Bake the pumpkin for about 2 hours in a 350 F oven. To serve, stir contents gently with a spoon until pumpkin flesh and other ingredients form a thick soup. For larger pumpkins 8-9 pounds, double recipe ingredients. To make soup without whole pumpkin, mix 2 cups pureed pumpkin with remaining ingredients and cook in large stock pot until croutons are softened.

Posted on 1 Oct 2004

Pauline Williams
Family & Consumer Sciences and 4-H Agent, Salt Lake County

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