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- [Narrator] Do you want to incorporate a wider variety of vegetables in to your daily diet?
Eating more vegetables can be easier if you know more about the produce grown in your area.
Through the Penn State Nutrition Links Produce Video Series, you will learn how to buy, store, cook and enjoy a variety of produce.
In this video, we will look at pumpkin.
Pumpkin's bright orange color is hard to miss.
It can be baked, boiled, steamed, broiled or pan-fried for immediate use.
Enjoy the seeds as a snack by roasting them.
Half cup serving of pumpkin is only 15 calories.
Pumpkin is an excellent source of Vitamin A and Potassium.
It also is a good source of Magnesium, Folate and Calcium.
The Vitamin A, that our bodies turn into Beta-Carotene, may reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancers and offers protection against heart disease.
Pumpkin is in season, September through the end of October and is available in an assortment of colors and sizes.
For cooking purposes, look for pie pumpkins or sweet pumpkins which are generally smaller.
Although, they should still be heavy for their size.
A good estimate to follow, is that one pound of raw, untrimmed pumpkin equals one cup of cooked and pureed pumpkin.
When purchasing your pumpkins, select only those with one or two inches of stem.
Any less of a stem will speed decay.
Avoid those with cracks to the shell and soft spots.
Store your whole pumpkin in a cool, dry place for up to two months.
Store cut or pureed pumpkin in a refrigerator in an air-tight container for use within 3 days.
For long term storage, you may freeze cut and pureed pumpkin.
Preparing fresh pumpkin for various recipes starts with washing the outer shell under cool running water.
There is no soap required.
Next, open the pumpkin by carefully cutting it with a sharp heavy knife.
To open the pumpkin, hold it up-right and then slice half-inch off one side to make a flat surface.
Place the flat surface on the cutting board so the pumpkin does not roll.
Then cut the top, stem side off the pumpkin.
Return the pumpkin to an up-right position and slice in half.
Scoop out the seeds and stringy contents.
No peeling is required before cooking it.
You may steam, boil, bake or microwave it until you can easily pierce with a fork.
Once the pumpkin is cooked, you can scoop out the flesh and puree it in a food processor or blender.
Fresh cooked or pureed pumpkin, equally replaces canned versions in recipes.
Pumpkin is also interchangeable with many winter squash.
Such as Acorn, Butternut and Hubbard squash.
Here is a recipe that is easy to make and delicious, a pumpkin smoothie.
For this recipe, you will need, one can of pumpkin, one twelve-ounce can of evaporated milk, one and a half cups of orange juice, one banana, one third cup light-brown sugar, two dozen ice cubes, optional, two teaspoons ground cinnamon, if you like.
Place the pumpkin and all the other ingredients in to the blender.
Cover the blender and blend until smooth.
Pour into glasses, then serve.
This recipe makes six servings at a 140 calories each.
This refreshing smoothie makes a great snack or addition to breakfast.
Remember, pumpkins are in season in September and October.
They are a great source of Vitamin A and low in calories.
They can easily replace other winter squash in recipes and you should always choose pumpkins that are firm and not cracked.
For more information on pumpkins and other Pennsylvania produce, visit Nutrition Links under Penn State Extension website.
Frequently Asked Questions