October 30, 2003 at 1:15 p.m.
This cousin to winter squash, pumpkins now range from less than a pound to hundreds of pounds. The smaller varieties, called sugar pumpkins, are generally best for cooking. I didn’t raise any pumpkins this year, opting to plant squash, along with gourds and cantaloupe, so my garden was half full of vines running every which direction. But, friends of mine did plant pumpkins and loaded several into the trunk of my car when I stopped by, so I have plenty of pumpkins for the two of us.
I decided to cook three or four and everything I read about cooking them said to cut the pumpkin into 3 or 4-inch cubes, cook until tender and peel them after they were done. Sounded like a time-consuming project so I decided to bake them as you would squash and then scrape the pulp out. Worked like a charm. I decided to can the pulp and I now have about a dozen pint jars of pumpkin to use for pies, breads, bars, etc. My pantry is overflowing with tastes for the season.
Have you forgotten how to roast pumpkin seeds for snacking? This is one way.
ROASTED PUMPKIN SEEDS
To roast seeds separate seeds from pulp (the stringy icky stuff). Measure the amount of seeds, spread seeds in one layer on a large baking pan (preferably with sides so the seeds stay put). For every two cups of seeds, sprinkle with 2 T. vegetable oil and 1 t. salt. Bake at 250 degrees for 1-1/2 hours or until dry and crisp but not brown. Cool completely, store in tightly covered container.
For you who likes a meatless main dish or if you are a vegetarian, try this delicious stew.
PUMPKIN VEGETABLE STEW
4 c. cubed, peeled pumpkin or squash
1-15 oz. can (2 c.) diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 c. low-sodium chicken broth
1 c. frozen corn
1/2 c. diced onion
1/2 c. diced green pepper
1 garlic clove, minced or 1/2 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. chili powder
1/4 t. pepper
1-15 oz. can cut green beans (2 c.), drained
In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients, except green beans. Bring to a boil, lower heat, cover and simmer for 40-45 minutes or until veggies are tender. Add green beans and heat through, 3-4 minutes. Serves 6.
Nutritional info––For 1-1/3 c. serving: cholesterol - trace, carbs - 20 grams, fat - 1 gram, fiber - 2 grams, calories - 83, protein - 4 grams.
Pancakes aren’t just for breakfast, though some will argue the point. Try these flapjacks for a fiber-filled lunch or light supper. Serve bacon or sausages with the cakes.
1 c. flour
1 c. quick-cooking oats
2 T. wheat germ
2 t. sugar
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
pinch of cinnamon
1 c. milk
1 egg, slightly beaten
3/4 c. canned pumpkin
2 T. vegetable oil
In a large bowl, combine first seven ingredients. Combine next four ingredients in a small bowl, stir into dry ingredients, just until moistened.
Pour batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto a lightly oiled hot griddle or frypan. Turn when bubbles form on top of cakes; cook until golden brown. Makes 10-12 pancakes.
This is a good cookie to tuck in a child’s or grown-up’s lunch box.
2 c. flour
2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. ground allspice
1/2 t. nutmeg
1/4 t. salt
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. butter or margarine (not spread)
1 c. mashed, cooked pumpkin
1 c. raisins
1 c. chopped walnuts
In large bowl, combine first seven ingredients; set aside.
In larger mixer bowl, beat sugar and butter until fluffy. Beat in pumpkin and egg. Add dry ingredients. With spoon stir in raisins and nuts. Drop by heaping teaspoonfuls 2-inches apart on greased baking sheets. Bake at 375 degrees for 14 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on racks. Makes 3 dozen cookies.
Be watchful of the little ghosts and goblins that will be out trick or treating tomorrow night.