Cooking with Fresh Pumpkin
Pumpkins aren't just for pie--or decoration--this season. If you're still housing that pumpkin from Halloween and aren’t sure what to do with it, consider cooking it--as long as it's still fresh (pumpkins stay fresh at room temperature for about a month). One caveat: Don't use a Jack O'Lantern that you've burned a candle in. This fruit (surprise, it's not a vegetable) is packed with vitamin A and fiber--not to mention, low in calories. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
You can make rich seasonal pumpkin soup without buying a can of puree. You'll need to create your own though. Start by slicing the pumpkin in half and scraping out the seeds (save them for roasting). Lay the pieces on wax paper and microwave on high for 10 minutes. Once the pumpkin has cooled, scrap the pulp out and puree in a food processor or blender. Try our hearty curried pumpkin soup recipe. With only 120 calories and 2 grams of fat per cup, this dish will fill you up, not out.
The seeds are chock-full of healthy nutrients and are a good source of fiber, potassium, and protein. Once you've cut apart your pumpkin, clean off the seeds and place them on a baking sheet. Set the oven to 325 degrees and cook for about 5-8 minutes. You can snack on them plain or toss them into a salad. One cup of unsalted pumpkin seeds has around 285 calories, so limit yourself.
The smell of freshly baked pumpkin bread will fill your home with festive energy. Most recipes call for a can of pumpkin puree, but if you have a blender or food processor, then make it fresh. Here's a delicious pumpkin-spice bread recipe to try. Your family and friends will be so impressed you made it from scratch!