Ingredient Spotlight: Pumpkin
Who doesn't love a pumpkin? It's versatile, nutritious, and delicious; what more could you ask for?
Pumpkins can be roasted, boiled, steamed, braised, or darn near any other method of cooking. And, of course, in pies! But for cooking, avoid the Jack-o-lantern types that are best reserved for carving; the flesh tends to be harder and more stringy. Instead, stick to the smaller Sugar Pumpkins, which are much tastier.
I love a simply roasted pumpkin, with hardly more than butter, salt, and pepper. You can find a super-simple recipe over at Chez Pim
, where she uses a Delicata squash, but you can certainly switch that for your favorite type of pumpkin.
As for nutrition, the pumpkin is a powerhouse
. Low in calories, but full of antioxidants and minerals, they also provide a healthy dose of fiber. And be sure to save those seeds; they're known as an excellent source of zinc, vitamin E, magnesium, copper, protein, and a host of other beneficial nutrients. Don't forget about pumpkin oil, either. It's fantastic on a salad or drizzled over soup (try my pumpkin soup recipe
), and has a gorgeous dark-green color.
And for all of you trying to eat more local foods, Illinois is by far the top pumpkin-producing state in the nation. As much as 95% of the nation's pumpkins intended for processing come from our state. That can of Libby's in your pantry? It's probably local.
So go find a pick-your-own pumpkin patch, or just grab a can at the store, and get cooking with the incredible, edible pumpkin!