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    National Pumpkin Day - October 26th

    lauralie41
    Mon Oct 01, 2012 4:42 pm
    Food.com Groupie
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    When we think of pumpkins we immediately see carved pumpkins for Halloween and pumpkin pies for Thanksgiving.

    HEALTH BENEFITS
    Pumpkins are a tasty source of vitamins and minerals, particularly beta-carotene, vitamin C, and potassium. It also helps prevent arterosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, which can lead to strokes and/or heart attacks.

    Pumpkin seed oil and pumpkin seeds are a good source of zinc and unsaturated fatty acids which are effective help for prostate ailments.

    A study by the USDA indicated that diets high in pumpkin as a fiber source tended to curb the appetite, yet provided more food for the same calorie count. The subjects in this study also absorbed less fat and calories from their food.

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    SELECTION AND STORAGE
    Pumpkins are readily available in the market year around. Buy well grown whole pumpkin instead of sections. Look for mature product that features fine woody note on tapping, heavy in hand and dry, stout stem. Avoid the one with wrinkled surface, cuts and bruises.

    Once at home, fully ripen pumpkin can be stored for many weeks at cool, well-ventilated place at room temperature. However, cut sections should be placed inside the refrigerator where it can keep well for a few days.

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    PREPERATION AND SERVING METHODS
    Some hybrid varieties are usually subjected to insecticide powder or spray. Therefore, wash them thoroughly in running water in order to remove dust, soil and any residual insecticides/fungicides.

    Cut the stem end and slice the whole fruit into two equal halves. Remove central net like structure and set aside seeds. Then cut into desired sizes. In general, small cubes are used in cooking preparations.

    Almost all the parts of the pumpkin plant; fruit, leaves, flowers and seeds, are edible.

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    SERVING TIPS
    Pumpkin can be used in variety of delicious recipes either baked, stew- fried; however, eaten best by steam cooking in order to get maximum nutrients. In China, the leaves of this plant are consumed as cooked greens or in soups.

    1.) In the Indian subcontinent where it is popular as "sitaphal", used in the preparation of "sabzee", sweet dishes, soups, curries...etc.

    2.) The fruit is used in the preparations of pies, pancakes, custard, ravioli...etc.

    3.) Golden nugget pumpkins are used to make wonderful souffl├ęs, stuffing, soups...etc.

    4.) Roasted Pumpkin seeds (Pepita) can be eaten as snacks.
    Information from NutritionandYou.com

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