Posted: October 30, 2012

Pumpkins are a healthy food; they are rich in alpha and beta carotene which are protective phytochemicals found naturally in some foods...

Phytochemicals, or “plant chemicals,” are not crucial for life like vitamins and minerals, but  they may promote health and reduce the risk of some cancers.  Fruits, vegetables, soy products, teas, herbs, nuts, and seeds all contain one or more

To cook a pumpkin,  select a heavy unblemished cooking, baking, or pie pumpkin that has deep orange color. Store in a cool dry place. A pumpkin can be stored for 3-6 months at 45-50° F.

To cut open, place on a newspaper and insert tip of chef’s knife. Scoop out strings and seeds with a spoon and discard. Pumpkins can be baked at 350° F for 30 minutes –      1 hour or microwaved on high for 15 minutes. 

They can also be peeled, diced, and boiled. Check to see if the pumpkin is done by inserting a fork to measure tenderness.  The seeds can also be enjoyed by rinsing and then laying out flat on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle with favorite herb. Bake just until light browned at 400°.

Use the cooked pumpkin as a puree, serve as the base of a savory soup or in a sweet pie, in a casserole or stew and serve in the shell. Mash with brown sugar or maple syrup and a pat of butter. Or use canned pumpkin instead for everything from soup to muffins and bread.