Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Not just for Halloween & Thanksgiving

I just recently discovered that pumpkin season actually extends beyond Halloween and Thanksgiving. In fact, the time frame includes September through March, so, naturally, I decided to continue celebrating with this fruit (yes, it really is a fruit) into the winter holidays.

Now, I wonder if they are harvested that long or if they are just present in the produce section until March? Either way, pumpkins definitely have a lengthy shelf-life prior to carving them (once cut open, the flesh will begin to rot in as little as 5 days). Just check out the ones we have leftover from this Halloween (obviously, they weren't carved); I took these pics last week.

With pumpkin on the brain, I chopped up one to enjoy this week. But, don't worry; they weren't my precious Halloween survivors. This one was a pie pumpkin my mom gave me for this very purpose: to cut up and make raw pies or other delectable dishes.

So far, I made this wonderful Pumpkin Curry (with a few tweaks, I rarely follow a recipe to a tee), pictured at the top of this post. It really warms your insides due to the spices, and cools your heated palate with the sweetness of the raisins and peas (they also add a bit of texture to this pureed masterpiece). Thanks mygreenmojo!

It's amazing how quickly one pumpkin can disappear (I had hoped to freeze some, but that's obviously not going to happen). I had this Pumpkin Nog (I used pumpkin seed milk for my own personal touch) today, which is perfect for the holiday season. Who needs eggnog when you can indulge in this creamy beverage? It also tastes spectacular as a green smoothie (there I go again, adding greens wherever possible).

Pumpkin Nog is a popular name for a recipe; like this one with a hint of black pepper or this one (listed under December recipes), which is lighter and contains pumpkin juice (yes, you can even juice them). And if Starbucks beverages are calling your name, try this Pumpkin Latte.

Some other pumpkin recipes worth acknowledging include, Thanksgiving Bread (which can be served other times of the year; substitute pumpkin in place of the yams), Savory Sweet Butternut Squash Soup (again, use pumpkin instead of butternut squash), Pumpkin Bread (which I also make into pumpkin muffins/cupcakes), Pumpkin Walnut Butter and Pumpkin Pesto Pasta (a really good reason to get your hands on a spiral slicer; Rawbin, you should try this one).

There are so many raw pumpkin recipes out there that I just can't post them all. The majority of them are for raw pumpkin puddings, pies and other desserts, which are easy to find if you just Google "raw pumpkin recipe." It's more difficult to come across the more savory ones; they are really worth going outside the box.

For instance, the pumpkin pesto I mentioned already, uses both the pumpkin flesh, as well as its seeds for an added nutritional boast. Both the flesh and seeds are packed with vitamins and nutrients, which are beneficial to your body year-round, both inside and out (my favorite hand cream this time of year also contains pumpkin, and not just for its subtle scent).

Allen Williams wrote in his e-zine article ("Pumpkin Has Health Benefits?"), "The pumpkin is your friend; cute or beautiful or not :-)

"That jacko'lantern was once filled with phytonutrients before it was nothing more than a gaping mouth and a blank stare.

"Phytonutrients help to keep your skin young looking and can protect it from sun damage as well.

"Pumpkin is also a great source of fiber, vitamins C and E, and potassium. Pumpkins taste great and are chock full of caratenoid pigments like alpha-carotene,along with beta carotene and lutein."

Feeling like adding some more pumpkin to your life? I don't know about you, but I'm off to the kitchen to experiment making raw pumpkin chocolate chip cookies (a fall/winter favorite of mine). I'll post if they turn out okay.


Unknown said...

mmm...pumpkin nog. what a great idea! i LOVE egg nog.

shannonmarie said...

Me, too :-)

About Me said...

Oooh that soup looks spectacular!!!

shannonmarie said...

Thanks. It actually tasted better than it looks.