Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
Shana Eaton, USA
Fun things you can do with a pumpkin.
Good nutrition means eating a well-balanced and varied diet of foods in as close to their natural state as possible.
In the USA, fall is all about pumpkins—everything is pumpkin flavored, from soup to coffee. Shena gives some ideas about how to make use of a bountiful seasonal harvest.
Pumpkins have so many uses other than just carving them for a Hallowe’en decoration. Pumpkins have great meat to eat, great seeds to roast, and much more.
Pumpkin seeds are especially good for breastfeeding mothers since they packed with vitamins and minerals. They are naturally rich in phytosterols, chemicals that have been shown to reduce cholesterol, and are also rich in the amino acid tryptophan, which plays a role in producing serotonin, important in enhancing mood.
Remove the guts of the pumpkin and separate the seeds from the stringy insides. Lay the seeds on a baking sheet and spread out evenly. Add any seasoning you want to the seeds at this time. Bake at 375°F/190°C/Gas mark 5 (moderately hot) for about 7 minutes.
Pepitas are rich in iron, fiber, and protein. This is great for breastfeeding mothers because eating an ounce of pumpkin seeds will give you around half of your recommended daily iron requirements!
Make pumpkin butter
Pumpkin butter goes well with breakfast meal.
Cut your cleaned pumpkin in half, place in a baking dish, cut side down, and add a cup of water. Bake for 90 minutes in a moderately hot oven. Once the flesh is tender, remove the meat of the pumpkin.
For the pumpkin butter, place 2 cups of your purée in a saucepan. Add any seasoning you want: some that go particularly well in pumpkin recipes are ginger, chili powder, garam masala, oregano, thyme, vanilla, and cayenne pepper. Add a cup of brown sugar and a cup of water. Bring to a boil. Simmer for about 25 minutes. Serve on toast or refrigerate for later use.
Make a mask
Pumpkins are a rich in vitamins and zinc. Eating a pumpkin is delicious and good for you, but it can also be a great way to improve the quality of your skin and fight against wrinkles. Making a mask for your skin is very easy to do.
Take 5 tablespoons of pumpkin purée, three teaspoons of Turbinado sugar, and a small splash of cream. Mix together until you have a paste, then apply it to your face. Keep it on for 20–30 minutes. Rinse it off. Your skin will thank you!
Feed the wildlife
If you have carved your pumpkin, once your Hallowe’en celebrations have ended, a great idea is to use the pumpkin to feed the wildlife in your area. Simply cut the pumpkin into slices and place around the outer areas of your yard, not too close to the front door.
Soon, you’ll see different (depending on where you live) wildlife attracted to the treats in your yard. You’ve made some little friends happy and helped the local wildlife find a tasty, nutritious treat.
Take the meat out of the pumpkin and slice into thin squares or strips. Bake at 375°F/190°C/Gas mark 5 (moderately hot) for 5–10 minutes or until crispy. Finish with any seasoning you choose. Sea salt and fresh black pepper is a delicious combination, as well as cinnamon and sugar for a sweet treat.
Chips made from pumpkins are a healthy snack you and your children can enjoy. These are a snack you won’t have to say no to!
Make a necklace
Dry the seeds from the pumpkin and paint them in different colors. Pick colors you’d want to go together, such as blue, aqua, and teal, or pink, coral, and red. Drill a small hole at the top of the pumpkin seed and string through on jewelry wire.
You can choose how you layer them, place them, use as many wires as you want and create a beautiful creation all your own.
Pumpkin soup is easy to make. Clean your pumpkin out, keeping only the meat and skin on the pumpkin. Slice into four and place the slices on a roasting pan, cut side down. Add a cup of water to the pan.
Allow to roast at 375°F/190°C/Gas mark 5 (moderately hot) for about 10–12 minutes. The meat should be tender. Cut the meat from the skin and cut the slices into 4 pieces. Add the pumpkin to a food processor with ½ tablespoon of butter, ½ cup of milk, ½ cup of cream, salt, and pepper. Process until smooth. Strain into a saucepan, and simmer on low for 5–7 minutes, until warmed.
Make dog treats
You can even use pumpkin to make treats for your furry friends. Mix pumpkin purée with flour, baking soda, chicken broth, and add some bacon if you’d like. Roll out into about ¼ inch thick dough. Cut into desired shapes.
Place on an ungreased baking sheet and bake at 375°F/190°C/Gas mark 5 (moderately hot) for 7–10 minutes. Brush the finished biscuits with chicken broth, just for added flavor. These will store for 12 days in a sealed container in the refrigerator.
What fresh fruits and vegetables are bountiful in your country? Please share your ideas, recipes, and photos with Breastfeeding Today readers!
I’m Shana Eaton and I like to blog about cooking.