The cucurbitaceae family is vast, stretching from zucchini to melons
and gourds. “Pumpkin” comes from the Greek word pepon
meaning large melon, but these veggies have more in common with winter
squash then their melon cousins. At this time of year most pumpkins we
see are of the inedible Jack-O-Lantern variety. Yet there are many
more pumpkins than just these fence sitters. From the tiny
“Jack Be Littles” decorative strain to gi-normous
Jabba The Hut-looking giants. In between are the hand-sized eating
In your HealthCase this week is the super-tasty Sugar Pie
pumpkin—bred, grown, and selected for eating. Of course they
can also be painted or carved for decor but they really destined for
the table. Many wonderful fall season recipes make use of pumpkin:
soups, stews, breads, and, of course, pies. Peeled and sliced chunks
will melt into soft pieces in stew. The whole pumpkin can even be
baked and served in its own container, Martha Stewart style. Every
culture has a taste for pumpkin, from Italian ravioli with sage,
Afghani Kaddo bowrani with yogurt and meat sauce, or Japanese tempura.
Pumpkin purée is called for in many recipes and easy to
prepare. Cut pumpkin in half horizontally. Scrape out the seeds,
sprinkle with a few drops of water, and place cut side down onto a
baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour, or until the pumpkin
collapses and is fork tender. Let it cool, and then scrape the flesh
from the skin and mash with a fork or purée in a food
processor. Then season with salt and pepper, butter or cream, or
spices, as called for in the recipe. The advantage of fresh pumpkin
purée over canned is that you can control the added spices and
the sugar. If you use fresh purée in a recipe that calls for
canned remember that fresh pumpkin has more moisture content so you
may need to adjust accordingly.
Q: What's the ratio of a pumpkin's circumference to its diameter?
A: Pumpkin Pi.
How many calories in one cup of baked pumpkin? Only 80 calories and it
contains 8 grams of fiber. It is also an excellent source of Vitamin
A. The orange-red color in pumpkin is a carotenoid, a pro-Vitamin A
compound that converts into retinol, the active form of vitamin A.
Good stuff for lung health and fighting off free-radicals and ghouls