Because when you have finished carving a Jack o’ lantern and eating the leftovers, you will feel great!
Pumpkin, which in New Zealand is eaten as often as potatoes, is very good for you. The bright orange colored pumpkin is not only low in carbohydrates, but is loaded with vitamin A and antioxidant carotenoids, particularly alpha and beta-carotenes, it’s a good source of vitamins A, C, K, and E, and lots of minerals, including potassium, calcium, magnesium, and iron. Pumpkin seeds are a great source of alpha-linolenic acid, a healthy natural fat.
Once you go fresh, you will not want canned!
Usually the Jack-o’lantern pumpkins have thin walls and watery flesh. The varieties better for cooking have thick walls and dense flesh.
Pumpkins are easy to handle and easy to cook once you know how. Here are some helpful methods.
- Treat a pumpkin like you would a potato.
- To boil: Chop in chunks, peel (about 2 x 2 inches) place in a pot of water, bring to a boil and cook until tender. Serve as a side dish as you would a potato.
- After you have boiled the pumpkin, simply use a hand masher, food processor or blender if you would like to whip it into a pumpkin puree. Or just mash the pumpkin with butter, a little salt and freshly ground black pepper and serve.
- To roast: Chop in large chunks, place around your meat when you are roasting meat, a leg of lamb, turkey, etc. To brown, remove meat and pop pumpkin under broiler.
- You can store unused portions of the pumpkin in the refrigerator, or freeze in ziplock bags until you are ready to use.
Below are a few recipes for pumpkin and some other delicious recipes to serve with the pumpkin.
ROASTED PORK TENDERLOIN WITH GINGER APRICOT GLAZE
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Makes 8 servings
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 tsp ground thyme
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 pork tenderloins (about 1lb each)
1-1/2 cups apricot preserves
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1-1/2 tsp ground ginger
Preheat oven to 375Â°F. Mix salt, pepper, thyme and olive oil in small bowl. Rub evenly over pork. Place on rack in foil-lined roasting pan. Roast 40 to 45 minutes or until desired doneness. Mix preserves, Worcestershire sauce and ginger in small bowl. Spoon over pork during the last 10 minutes of cooking. Remove pork and let sit for about 10 minutes. Slice pork and serve with pan juices.
To grill pork tenderloin: Grill pork over indirect or medium heat 25 to 30 minutes or until desired doneness. Spoon preserves mixture over pork during the last 10 minutes of cooking.
Peel and cut pumpkin into 2 x 2 inch pieces or thereabouts. Rinse and pat dry. Add to roasting dish with pork tenderloin. Spray with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
STEAK WITH BABY BELLA MUSHROOMS
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 7 minutes
2 Tbsp olive oil
4 (6-oz) strip loin steaks, about 3/4-inch thick
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 fresh ground black pepper
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb Baby Bella Mushrooms, cleaned, dried and cut into 1/4 inch slices
1 red, yellow or orange bell pepper, chopped
1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme, plus additional sprigs for garnish
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
1/2 cup low-sodium beef broth
In a large skillet (NOT nonstick), heat oil on medium-high. Season both sides of steaks with salt and pepper. Add steaks to skillet and cook about 3-1/2 minutes then turn and cook another 3-1/2 minutes for medium-rare and 4 minutes each side for medium. Transfer steaks to warmed serving plates and let rest for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile place same skillet on medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add mushrooms and bell pepper and sautÃ© until golden and tender. Add broth, deglazing pan by scraping up any browned bits from bottom. Add blue cheese. Cook, stirring occasionally until liquid is reduced, 1 to 2 minutes, and cheese is warmed. Serve steaks with mushroom, mixture over top. Garnish with thyme sprigs.
ROASTED PUMPKIN SEEDS
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
Preheat oven to 275ÂºF. Remove seeds from pumpkin and rinse thoroughly under cold water. Pick out the pulp and strings. Pat dry.
Place the pumpkin seeds in a single layer on an oiled baking sheet, stirring to coat.
Sprinkle with salt and bake until toasted, about 30 minutes, checking and stirring about every 10 minutes until crisp and golden brown.
Remove from oven and let cool. Shell and eat or store in an air-tight container and refrigerate until ready to eat.
Note: Pumpkin seeds have a nutty flavor. You can also flavor them with sweet and savory spices.
Capt. Jan Robinson holds certificates from the Culinary Institute of America, The Ritz Cooking School, and the Cordon Bleu. Her Ship to Shore Cookbook Collection is available at your local marine or bookstore. Or visit www.shiptoshoreINC.com email CapJan@aol.com or call 1-800-338-6072 and mention All at Sea to receive a discount.