Squash and pumpkin are tasty
Squash and pumpkin provide a great-tasting treat at meals. Try these ideas.
- Squash are not hard to cook. Using a microwave oven makes it simple. Just cut in half and remove the seeds. Place in pan cut side down. Microwave until soft. Add honey and eat!
- Canned pumpkin is a good buy. Use it to thicken soups or stews.
- Canned pumpkin can be used in baking, too. It provides moisture and color in baked cakes or cookies. It adds few calories.
Try the recipe below.
Squash and pumpkin can help reduce your risk of cancer. People who eat at least three servings of vegetables a day are less likely to get some common cancers. Health professionals recommend working up to 5 servings of vegetables and 4 servings of fruit into your day.
One half cup of cooked squash or pumpkin is one serving.
Here's how you can work vegetables and fruits into your day.
|Breakfast||Banana on cereal||1|
|Lunch||Cup of vegetable soup||1|
|Dinner||Cup of steamed vegetables||2|
|Snack||Cup of fruit juice||1|
* One serving is one medium-sized piece of fruit; 1⁄2 cup of chopped, cooked, or canned fruit; 1⁄4 cup dried fruit; 3⁄4 cup of juice; 1 cup of raw, leafy vegetable; or 1⁄2 cup of other vegetable, raw or cooked.
Squash and pumpkin can help reduce your risk of cancer because they contain
- beta carotene, used to form vitamin A.
- fiber to prevent constipation.
- potassium, a mineral that can help lower blood pressure.
Pumpkins raised for eating are not the same as those raised for jack-o’-lanterns. Choose squash or pumpkin that have hard, shiny skins. Avoid those with soft spots. Most grocery stores also carry canned pumpkin. Avoid cans with bulges, dents, or rust.
Keep whole squash or pumpkin in a cool, dry spot. Plan to use within a week or two of purchase. Store canned pumpkin in a cool, dry cabinet. Keep away from heating ducts or pipes.
Microwave Pumpkin Squares
(16 two-inch servings)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3⁄4 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup canned pumpkin
- 2 egg whites or 1 whole egg
- 1⁄2 tsp baking powder
- 1⁄2 tsp baking soda
- 1⁄4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (1⁄2 tsp cinnamon, 1⁄4 tsp ginger, and 1⁄4 tsp allspice can be substituted)
- 1⁄3 cup chopped nuts
- 1⁄4 cup raisins
Place all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Blend at slow speed, then beat at medium speed for one minute. Spread batter in 8-by-8-inch glass baking dish.
Place on an inverted saucer. Microwave at 50% power (medium) for 6 minutes, rotating every 1 to 2 minutes. Increase power to high. Microwave 5 to 6 minutes, rotating every 2 minutes. Do this until very little unbaked batter appears through the bottom of the dish. Let stand 5 to 10 minutes. Cool. Frost with light cream cheese frosting (recipe below).
Light Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1 pkg (3 oz) light cream cheese
- 2 Tbsp soft margarine
- 1 1⁄2 to 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
Combine cream cheese and margarine in a mixing bowl. Microwave on high for 10 to 20 seconds or until softened. Blend well. Beat in sugar until it is of spreading consistency. Spread on cooled squares.
Food Safety Tips
- Keep bars, pastries, and pies made with milk or egg products refrigerated. This prevents food poisoning.
- Make sure any product containing eggs is well cooked before eating it.
Prepared by J. Lynne Brown, professor of food science, in cooperation with Central Region family living educators.