November 2010: Pumpkin

It seems like in North American culture that we have forgotten that pumpkins grow in this world for more than just making pumpkin pie and carving them up into jack-o-lanterns. Since there are so many of this beautiful orange fruit in our grocery stores right now, I thought I would highlight it this month.

According to the student research from the SEEDS UBC Food System Project, pumpkins are orange due to their beta carotene, which has antioxidant qualities that can turn into vitamin A. Beta carotene has also been shown to reduce cancer risks and protect against heart disease. So go for the brightest orange pumpkin that you can find! Pumpkin seeds are also good as a source of magnesium and manganese, so be sure to roast them (see my recipe below).

Jolly Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

  1. Washed the pumpkin seeds and clear off all the stringy bits from the “guts.”
  2. Place on a cookie sheet, then lightly spray with olive oil and shake sea salt overtop.

Bake in the oven at 350 Farenheit for 10-15 minutes or until a light golden brown. Shake nutritional yeast overtop. (If you’re not familiar with nutritional yeast, then learn more about this really fascinating topping that has made my popcorn so delicious!)

Here’s a pumpkin soup recipe that also sounds delicious:

Pumpkin and Ginger Soup
Serves 4
1 tbsp olive oil, 1 onion, finely chopped, 2 cloves garlic, crushed, 2.5cm (1 inch) piece root ginger, peeled and grated, 650g (4 cups) peeled and chopped pumpkin flesh, 850ml (3 cups) vegetable stock
Sweat the onions gently in the olive oil for 5 mins, then add in the garlic, ginger and pumpkin and cook for 5 mins more. Add the water or stock and simmer for 15-20 mins, until the pumpkin is tender. Puree the soup in a blender or food processor and thin with a little extra stock, water or milk if necessary.
(Healthy Eating Made Easy)

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Food of the Month

Oranges Every month, the Healthy UBC Blog highlights a locally available food, and gives you a recipe or two to try out.  This month, read all about mandarin oranges, rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, fibre and folate.

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