Now that Halloween is over, pumpkins are ready for EATING. Plump, slightly sweet pumpkins are filling our Harvest Home markets. A few “tricks” can turn those orange beauties into delicious (and healthy) “treats.”
Low in calories and high in nutrition, pumpkins have vitamins that boost your immune system, strengthen your eyesight and keep your skin strong & healthy. Seeds for snacks, chunky stews or soup, muffins and bread or holiday pies, pumpkin adds “treats” to your cooking.
A few “tricks for treats:”
What to buy: Pumpkins for cooking are smaller, have less water and more flesh inside, plus a sweeter taste. Ask your farmer what kind he has. Uncarved pumpkins will last for 8 to 12 weeks!
How to peel a pumpkin: Easier to do when cooked. (see Tricky Tips below)
Freeze for later: If you can’t use the whole pumpkin, save it for another day. Cook first and freeze in 2 to 3in chunks or as puree in 1 to 2 cup portions for easy future use.
Seeds for Snacks: Save and Flavor
● Remove seeds: Place the pumpkin pulp into a sink full of water. Seeds float to the top! Remove with a slotted spoon. Pat the seeds dry with a towel. Don't dry the seeds with paper towels; they’ll stick.
● Roast them: Preheat oven to 300° F. Spread seeds in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Bake until dry, about 50 - 60 minutes.
● Add Flavor: Set the oven to 350 F. Toss seeds in a large bowl with a bit of olive oil, salt and your choice of spices (see tips below). Place back on cookie sheet. Bake until crisp and golden (about 10 minutes.)
Recipe: Chicken, Pumpkin & Rice
A Caribbean Favorite!
•2 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into small cubes
•1 cup white rice, short to medium grain
•3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
•2 cups raw, peeled, diced pumpkin or butternut squash
•½ medium onion, chopped
•2 cloves garlic, pressed
•1 teaspoon dried thyme
•1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
•1 Tbsp olive oil
•salt, black pepper, sweet paprika
•Preheat oven to 350°
•Season chicken with salt, pepper and paprika
•In a skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil and cook chicken pieces until no longer pink. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
•Add additional olive oil and cook onions for about 2 minutes then add garlic, grated ginger, thyme and pumpkin. Cook for 10 minutes.
•Add rice. Stir to combine, then add broth.
•Transfer skillet to the oven. Cook for approximately 30 minutes.
•Remove skillet from the oven and add in chicken pieces. Cook for another 10 minutes then check to see if the rice is done. Add additional water or stock if rice is too dry or uncooked.
How to Peel A Pumpkin: A little cooking makes this easy
•Cut in quarters, remove seeds & pulp
•Place skin-side down in roasting pan with a little water in bottom of pan. Cover.
•Bake for 1 hour in 300°F oven, until soft
•Remove from oven, uncover and let cool.
•Cut the fleshy part away from the shell.
Flavors for Pumpkin Seeds: Toss dried seeds with 2 Tbsp of olive oil with any of the spice mixtures below. Return to oven for 10 minutes
•Chili-lime: 2 Tbsp lime zest, 2 Tbsp freshly-squeezed lime juice, 1/2 Tbsp chili powder, and ¼ tsp salt
•Indian: Toss with garam masala; mix with currants after roasting.
•Spanish: Toss with smoked paprika; mix with slivered almonds after roasting.
•Sweet & Savory: Mix seeds with 1 tsp olive oil, 1 Tbsp brown sugar, ½ tsp salt & 1/8 tsp each of cayenne and black pepper
Delicious Side Dish From One Of Our Farmers:
•Cut a pumpkin into 2 or 3 inch pieces, leave skin on.
•Place the pieces into a steamer with a stick of cinnamon in the water. Cook until the pumpkin is soft.
•Peel the pieces; then mash with one stick of panela, aka a sugar stick. Enjoy!
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