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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

great info about pumpkin!!

LowCarbRecipeBox : Message: Cooking Low Carb with Pumpkin

Cooking Low Carb with Pumpkin

From Laura Dolson

Did You Know… that pumpkin is one of the vegetables allowed during Atkins’ Induction phase?

Did You Know…that pumpkin is chock full of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants?

Did You Know…that pie is not the only way to cook pumpkin?

Pumpkin is one of those vegetables that is almost emblematic of fall – it makes us think of harvest, of holidays, of frost, of lengthening nights and the oncoming winter. And yet, the only way it usually gets to the table is in a store-bought pie, or perhaps a can of pie filling that goes in a pie we made ourselves. But pumpkin can be so much more - and since pumpkin keeps for 6 months whole or for years in a can, it can be a year-round addition to our diets.

Pumpkin is chock full ‘o goodness. You can tell by its bright color that it’s going to be going to be good for you! Not only is pumpkin loaded with Vitamin A and antioxidant carotenoids, particularly alpha and beta-carotenes, it’s a good source of Vitamins C, K, and E, and lots of minerals, including magnesium, potassium, and iron.

Half a cup of canned pumpkin has 6.5 grams of effective carbohydrate
and 3.5 grams of fiber.

The seeds are also worth latching on to. Pumpkin seeds, also called pepitas, are loaded with minerals, seem to have an anti-inflammatory effect, and may even help protect against prostate cancer and osteoporosis. A quarter cup has about 5 grams of effective carb and 1.5 grams of fiber.

For cooking, you want a pumpkin that is heavy for its size. The lighter ones are drier, with a bigger open space in the middle. For the most part, stay away from the large pumpkins when selecting a pumpkin for eating – 2-5 lbs is about right.

Pumpkins can keep for a long time in a cool (ideally 50-60 degrees) dry place. Put newspapers underneath just in case though! Once the pumpkin is cut open, you need to use it within a couple of days (or freeze it) as it can mold quickly. Cooked, it’s fine in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.

Basic Easy Cooking Techniques

For pumpkin puree: Remember, you heard it here first: you don’t need to cut the pumpkin open before you roast it. I’m not kidding. Just jab it with a knife once or twice to vent the steam, put the whole darned thing on a baking sheet, and pop it in the oven at 350 F for an hour or so, until you can easily stick a knife into it. (Once I had to leave in the middle of this, so I turned off the oven after 20 minutes, and when I came back several hours later it was perfectly cooked.) Cool, then scoop out the seeds and stringy stuff with a spoon, or pull it out with tongs. It is SO MUCH EASIER than when it is raw!

If you want chunks, you’ll have to cut into it raw (though I have wondered if “par-roasting” would work to make the skin easier to hack into). Or find a store where you can buy it already in chunks. Or beg the produce guy at your local market to do it. Explain that people (e.g. you) would gladly pay more if someone else had done the wrestling.

For the seeds, let them dry on paper towels, then oil and salt them (and any other seasonings you want) and slow roast them in a 250 F oven until they smell good – about 45-60 minutes. Stir them every 15 minutes or so.

Ways to Eat Pumpkin
Pumpkin can be used in any squash recipe, but it has a depth of flavor that many other winter squashes don’t. It’s very versatile! Of course, we have to have pumpkin pie, so do try my low carb version
. But here are some recipes for soup, a main dish, and even breakfast:

Low Carb Pumpkin Pie

From Laura Dolson
Your Guide to Low Carb Diets

People love this pie. People have told me it was the best they've even had, and they didn't know it was low carb or sugar-free (or gluten-free). You must make it with the pecan crust
for full impact. That said, it's great on its own as a baked pudding, even for breakfast.


1 15 oz can pumpkin
2 eggs
2/3 cup unsweetened soy milk (or milk or cream - milk has more carbs, so adjust)
1/3 cup cream
1 C sugar equivalent from artificial sweetener
1 teaspoon dark molasses (optional)
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 scant teaspoon t nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
Pinch cloves
1/4 t salt


As an artificial sweetener, I prefer a form of liquid sucralose
, as powdered types have more carbs and sometimes an off-taste.

1) Preheat oven to 425 F.

2) Dump all the ingredients into a food processor or blender and whirl to blend.

3) Pour into the crust

4) Put the pie in the oven and immediately turn the oven down to 375 F. In 15 minutes, turn the oven down to 300 F. (This cooks the crust, so it isn't soggy, but then allows the custard to bake more slowly.) Bake until almost set in the middle, about 30-40 minutes more. If it starts to crack a bit around the edges, it's probably done.

5) Cool and serve with whipped cream (the real stuff, made with vanilla and sweetener). How To Make Homemade Whipped Cream

Nutritional Analysis: 8 servings, without crust: 3.5 grams effective carbohydrate plus 2 grams fiber, 3 grams protein, 5.5 grams fat, 80 calories.

With pecan crust, each serving is 4 grams effective carbohydrate with 3.4 grams fiber

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