Tammy Roberts, MS, RD, LD, Nutrition and Health Education Specialist, Bates County, University of Missouri Extension
The most popular use for pumpkins this time of year is jack-o-lanterns and fall decorations. But pumpkin is healthy and versatile, so we could be preparing and eating it in a variety of ways as well. Pumpkin provides fiber, vitamins A and C, potassium and protein.
Here are some guidelines when choosing a pumpkin for cooking:
To get multiple uses out of it, you can use first use your pumpkin as a decoration by painting a funny face on it using non-toxic paints. Then, after the holiday, you can wash and cook it.
To use the pumpkin for maximum benefit, don’t throw out the seeds — they can be roasted and eaten. Start by removing the stem with a sharp knife. Cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds and scrape the stringy part away. Wash the seeds in warm water and spread them out to dry. To roast, spray pan with oil and spread seeds thinly on the pan. You can sprinkle the seeds with salt or any seasoning that appeals to you (such as cheesy popcorn or Cajun seasoning). Bake in a 250 degree oven for 15-20 minutes.
There are three ways to prepare the pumpkin in order to .
Pumpkin puree can be used in any recipe in which you use purchased pumpkin. Pumpkin puree can be frozen at 0 degrees for up to one year.
If you have pumpkins but you’re not quite ready to cook them, keep in mind that pumpkins can be stored for several months if kept at 50-55 degrees in a dry airy place.
Credit – Rich Bowen **