31 Oct 2006

Pumpkins for Halloween

Happy Halloween everyone, have fun with your kids and enjoy making your Jack 'O Lantern.

Don't worry about all that pumpkin pulp that you will land up with, as it is healthy to eat and can be prepared in a variety of ways to eat now or frozen to be used at Thanksgiving.

Pumpkin is very nutritious and excellent for the health due to it being very rich in beta-carotene (Vit A) which is an excellent antioxident. This plays an important role in the body by protecting the body from disease, assisting in the formation of bones, assisting in cell growth, balancing cholesterol levels, and slowing the aging process.

Pumpkin is high dietary fiber and low in calories so is excellent if eaten when on diet. It only has a trace of sodium and fat and has no cholesterol. It also contains calcium, magnesium, potassium and vitamin C.

Apart from selecting a pumpkin suitable to be carved always choose pumpkins which are firm with no cracks. The deeper the orange color the more beta-carotene it contains. At other times when not requiring one to be carved you will find that today there are a variety of types of pumpkin available and they come in many sizes and colors.

Whole, mature pumpkins can last for months in a dry, airy location and they are also excellent for freezing. They are so useful as they can be prepared in many ways. Roasted, baked, steamed and boiled. Added to both sweet and savory dishes. Many people like to dry excess pumpkin and grind it up as a flour to be added to baked goods.

Enjoy you Halloween :)


Recipes of the Day come from the BBC's cookery programs . They have been slightly adapted to make them Vegan.

Pumpkin and Apple Soup
Serves 6
Prep Time less than 30 mins
Cooking time 10 to 30 mins

2 onions, peeled and chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
1 tbsp olive oil
1 lb pumpkin, skinned, seeded and cubed
2 baking apples, peeled, cored and chopped
2 cups vegetable stock
1 1/2 cups dry cider or apple juice
2 sprigs fresh sage
salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the onions and the garlic. Cook for 2 minutes and then add the pumpkin,chopped apples and sage. Cook for another 2 minutes, season well and add the stock and the cider or apple juice. Bring to the boil and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the ingredients are tender. Liquidise and serve piping hot with crusty bread.

Japanese Pumpkin Salad
by Rosemary Moon of BBC Veg Talk
Serves 4
Prep time 30 mins to 1 hour
Cooking time 30 mins to 1 hour

1 small pumpkin seeded and quartered
freshly ground black pepper
olive oil for basting
1 cup frozen chestnuts
1 red pepper, seeded and sliced
2-3 sticks celery, sliced
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1/3 cucumber, diced
For the dressing
1 1/2 inch fresh ginger, grated
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp poppy seeds
1 tbsp sesame seeds
4 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp sesame oil
3 tbsp dark soy sauce

Preheat the oven to 425F/Gas 7. Roast the pumpkin, sprinkled with salt and pepper and drizzled with oil, for 20 minutes, then add the frozen chestnuts and roast for a further 15 minutes. Leave to cool. Scoop or chop the pumpkin into bite-sized pieces. Mix with the chestnuts and the remaining prepared vegetables. For the dressing, whisk the dressing ingredients together, pour over the salad and toss well before serving.
Comments: Great on a cold winter day sprinkled with some savory croutons!!

Warm Pumpkin and Chickpea Salad with Tahini
by Sam and Sam Clarke from Casa Moro
Serves 4
Prep time less than 30 mins
Cooking time 10 to 30 mins
This warm salad has lots of textures and tastes bouncing off each other. Tahini is an oily paste made from pounded sesame seeds. It has a rich, nutty flavour and is used throughout the Middle East.

4 cups pumpkin peeled, seeded and cut into cubes
1 clove garlic, crushed
½ tsp ground allspice
2 tbsp olive oil
1 x 14oz tin chickpeas, rinsed and drained
½ small red onion, finely chopped
4 tbsp roughly chopped fresh coriander
salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the tahini sauce
1 clove garlic, crushed to a paste with salt
3½ tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp tahini paste
2 tbsp water, to taste
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 425F/Gas 7. Toss the pumpkin with the garlic, allspice, olive oil and some salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place on a tray in the oven for about 15-25 minutes or until soft. Remove and cool. While the pumpkin is cooking, make the tahini sauce. Mix the crushed garlic with the lemon juice and add the tahini. Thin with water and olive oil and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. You should taste a balance between the nutty tahini and lemon. To assemble the salad, place the pumpkin, chickpeas, red onion and coriander in a mixing bowl. Pour on the tahini sauce and toss carefully. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and serve.



Rosemary said...

Glad to see you back up and running. I was on dialup for awhile not long ago, so I know what you mean about slow. We sure do get spoiled, don't we?

Those pumpkin recipes look scrumptious! Thanks!! And thanks for stopping by my Day by Day blog, too.

Anonymous said...

I love pumpkin and those salads look especially good!

Happy Halloween!

Marion said...

So glad you're back...just in time for Hallowe'en and pumpkins!

My favourite part of the pumpkin are the seeds...roasted with garlic and olive oil and salt...they can't be beat!

Anonymous said...

Mmmm... that Japanese pumpkin salad sounds delicious. I'll have to give it a try! We loved the pumpkin dishes we ate in Japan.

Anonymous said...

Jackie, I made the pumpkin chickpea salad tonight, only I used a sweet potato and no olive oil. It was really good and made a ton! I don't know if I'll ever be able to eat it all. I'll post a picture of it later this week.

Jackie said...

Thanks atxvegan and marion for the great ideas :)

Anonymous said...

Oh!! I'm happy you are back!

I can never get sick of pumpkin foods, expecially ones like: Warm Pumpkin and Chickpea Salad with Tahini. That sounds like my favorite!! Very different!