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Add Pumpkin and Squash to your Plate

A Taste

For Nutrition

By Kimberly Fox, Extension Agent

Family Nutrition Program/Family and Consumer Science

 

Add Pumpkin and Squash to your Plate

The holiday season is here and family gatherings oftentimes include pumpkin and squash.  While they may be a part of holiday meals because of tradition, they can also be a nutritious addition as well!  Both pumpkins and squash are a good source of fiber and Vitamin A.  Vitamin A is important to keep our eyes and skin healthy.

If you happen to have grown squash or pumpkins in your garden, you may be wondering if it will last until your holiday celebrations.  Both can be stored for several months if they are kept in a cool, dry place.  It is essential to refrain from washing your squash and pumpkins until you are ready to use them.  Washing them prior to this will shorten their storage life.

Another storage option is freezing your squash.  Simply cook and mash it.  Be sure to label your storage container so that you use up any frozen goods in a timely manner.  Chunks of cooked squash can also be pressure canned.  If you are planning to preserve using a pressure canner, be sure to follow the latest recommendations at www.ag.ndsu.edu/food

You can also use the seeds from your squash and pumpkins!  After baking or cooking your squash or pumpkin, remove the seeds, rinse them with water, and pat them dry with a paper towel.  Preheat your oven to 300 F.  Place the seeds in a bowl and add a small amount of canola oil and stir.  You can then sprinkle the seeds with seasoning salt, Cajun spice, or a spice of your choice.  Bake the seeds for 45 minutes, stirring them every 15 minutes until they are golden brown.  This is just one more delicious way to get more out of your pumpkins and squash.

Below is a simple 2 ingredient pumpkin recipe that is sure to be a favorite at your holiday get togethers.  Enjoy!

2 Ingredient Pumpkin Spice Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 (15-ounce) spice cake mix
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
  • Optional topping: ½ tsp. sugar per muffin

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Place ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly with an electric mixer for about two minutes or beat by hand. Grease or spray muffin tin cups or use paper liners. Fill each muffin cup about two-thirds full. The batter is thick, so use a knife to smooth the top of the batter. If desired, sprinkle the top of each muffin with ½ teaspoon of sugar. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes, until a knife or toothpick comes out clean

 

Makes: 18 servings.  Each serving contains 110 calories, 3 grams of fat, 160 mg of sodium, 19 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, and 2 grams protein.

 

Sources:

  • NDSU Extension Service Food Wise, November 2017 Newsletter
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Gardening: The Key to Consuming More Vegetables

By Kimberly Fox, Extension Agent Family Nutrition Program/Family and Consumer Science

It may not surprise you that most Americans do not consume enough vegetables, in fact, you may be one of the many that has good intentions of consuming more vegetables, but usually falls sort due to lack of time or perhaps you simply do not have many vegetables on hand.  Research has shown that both adults and children consume more vegetables if they grow the vegetables themselves.

 

I have taught a variety of Junior Master Gardener Classes over the past few years, and have seen this to be very true.  The same kids that were very uncertain about the things we were planting were very curious to try them once they had watched them grow all summer long. 

 

Gardens allow for us to consume a variety of fruits and vegetables.  It is recommended to eat different colors and types, because each type of fruit and vegetable has different nutrients. 

 

If you are gardening with kids, consider a themed garden.  You could have a salsa garden that provides all of the ingredients for fresh salsa, or perhaps a pizza garden that provides many common pizza ingredients.

 

Growing fruits and vegetables in your garden does not only lead to healthier meals, it also leads to more physical activity.  Adults need 30 minutes of physical activity most days, and children need 60 minutes daily.  Gardening is the perfect time for families to spend time together while getting exercise.  With beautiful weather, and a lot of summer ahead of us, gardening is the perfect way to spend family time.


Here is a recipe for herbed potato salad. A perfect way to use a variety of garden ingredients throughout the year.  Enjoy!

 

Herbed Potato Salad

Ingredients:

 

  • 6 small red potatoes (quartered)
  • 1/2 cup Italian dressing, light
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons mustard, spicy brown
  • 1 tablespoon parsley (chopped, fresh)
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper (ground)
  • 1/2 cup green bell pepper (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup green onion (sliced)

 

Directions:

 

First, cook the potatoes in boiling water over high heat until tender, for about 10 minutes. Drain well and let cool.  Place potatoes in a medium bowl and set aside.  Next, in a small bowl, combine dressing, mustard, parsley, and seasonings.  Pour mixture over potatoes and toss well.  Carefully stir in bell peppers and green onions.  Cover and chill until ready to serve.

 

Makes 6 servings.  Each serving contains 120 calories, 2 grams of fat, 22 grams carbohydrates, 350 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber, and 3 grams protein. 

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