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All About Pumpkins

pumkin, local pumpkin, pumpkins

Pumpkins are a popular vegetable for Thanksgiving and are fun to carve on Halloween. Pumpkins are also tasty and nutritious! Both the seeds and the flesh can be used in many interesting dishes. All good reasons to remember to eat pumpkin the rest of the fall and winter!

Nutrition spotlight!

Pumpkin is an excellent source of vitamin A. Vitamin A helps your eyes and skin stay strong and healthy. As an antioxidant, vitamin A can help you lower the risk of some diseases and fight the signs of aging. 

Pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of iron and are rich in protein

Buying local pumpkins

Pumpkins are grown in Ontario and are available in September and October. When you buy local food, you support farmers so they can keep producing high quality, affordable food we can all enjoy.

Shopping and storing for pumpkins

The best pumpkins for cooking are the small pie pumpkins, which have a nicer texture and flavour than the larger ones. Look for pumpkins with firm and smooth orange skin and that feel heavy for their size. Avoid pumpkins with cracks and bruises.

Whole pumpkins can be kept in a cool, dry place for several months. Once you cut up your fresh pumpkin, store it in the refrigerator wrapped in plastic and use within five days. Cooked pumpkin can be frozen for up to 10 months.

The best pumpkins for Halloween carving and decorating are large but not too heavy. You want a pumpkin with thin walls to make carving easier. Look for pumpkins that have a strong stem and a nice round shape that will stand properly.

Preparing pumpkin

Most dishes can be made with fresh, frozen or canned pumpkin. Pumpkin is tasty in pies, muffins, cakes, breads, casseroles and soups.  Pumpkin is a good substitute in any recipe that calls for butternut squash or other vegetables of the winter squash family. In a recipe, one cup of fresh pumpkin will cook to one cup of mashed pumpkin. 

The easiest way to prepare pumpkin is to:

  • Cut it open
  • Scoop out the seeds and the fibre strands from the centre

Cooking pumpkin

Pumpkin can be baked, boiled, steamed or cooked in the microwave. Once cooked, the flesh can easily be scooped from the hard outer peel and then mashed or pureed.

Pumpkin seeds

Pumpkin seeds make a tasty and healthy snack. Wash them to remove any bits of flesh, then spread on a baking sheet and roast in the oven until golden brown and crunchy. 

Make cooked pumpkin or seeds taste great by using any or a combination of these flavours: allspice, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger and cumin.

To get more pumpkin on your table, give these recipes a try:

Toasted Pumpkin-Seed Brittle

Pumpkin Cranberry Muffin Squares

No Bake Chocolate Almond Bliss Bars

Last Update – June 15, 2017

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