NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County


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Orange and Round and Yummy

Orange and Round and Yummy


          From China to Australia to India to the entire North American continent, for centuries pumpkins have been used in soups, stews, sweetened for desserts and their seeds always saved to be roasted.  Pumpkins have long been associated with fall festivals and really only since the late 1800’s with Halloween.   However you like your pumpkin – as a jack-lantern, a pie or in a soup – pumpkin is a colorful addition.

          Pumpkin adds fiber to the diet and is a rich source of vitamin A. Naturally low in calories, pumpkin contains only a trace of sodium and fat and no cholesterol.  The whipped cream on a typical American pumpkin pie is another story.

          Select pumpkins according to how you will use them. If you plan to make a jack-o-lantern, a large, well-shaped pumpkin will best suit your needs. Use small, heavy pumpkins, sometimes marketed as pie pumpkins, for pies and other dishes because they contain more pulp than larger jack-o-lantern varieties.

          Store whole, mature pumpkins several months in a dry, airy location—50°F to 55°F with a relative humidity of 60 percent to 75 percent. Despite their sturdy appearance, handle pumpkins carefully to avoid surface damage, which leads to decay and quickly shortens shelf life.

          You can cook pumpkins in boiling water, steam or in a pressure cooker; however, baking usually yields more pulp.   Roasted pumpkin seeds make a terrific high energy snack. To roast: wash off strings and blot seeds dry. Toss with a small amount of vegetable oil, spread in a single layer on a shallow baking sheet and bake at 250°F for 10 minutes to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Salt, if desired, cool and store.


          Pumpkin Pancakes

1/2 cup regular, uncooked oats

1 cup buttermilk

2 eggs

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1/2 cup pureed pumpkin

1/3 cup low-fat or skim milk

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons wheat germ

1 tablespoon sugar

          Combine oats and buttermilk and let stand for 15 minutes to soften. Mix eggs, oil, pumpkin, and milk and blend well. Combine dry ingredients and mix with the egg mixture. Add oats and buttermilk and blend until batter is fairly smooth. Add extra milk if batter is too thick. Bake on lightly greased griddle.   Makes: 4 servings.



          Pumpkin Potluck

1 medium-sized pumpkin

2 pounds ground beef

2/3 cup chopped celery

2/3 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped green pepper

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup soy sauce

2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed

1 4-ounce can sliced mushrooms, drained

1 101/2-ounce can condensed cream of chicken soup

2 cups cooked rice, hot

          To prepare pumpkin: Wash it thoroughly and pat dry. On a firm surface, use a sharp knife to cut out stem, leaving about three inches around it. Cut on a diagonal by slanting knife from outer edge of pumpkin toward center. Save top of pumpkin. Scoop out seeds and stringy membrane; save seed for roasting. Replace top and begin baking on a lightly greased baking sheet at 375°F while preparing the meat mixture.

          In a Dutch oven, brown ground beef over medium heat.  Drain any fat and stir in chopped vegetables. Cover and simmer over low heat until vegetables are tender-crisp; about ten minutes. Stir in salt, soy sauce, brown sugar, mushrooms, soup, and rice. Remove pumpkin from oven and spoon mixture into prepared pumpkin. Replace top of pumpkin, return to oven and continue baking about one hour or until pumpkin is tender. To serve, spoon meat filling and cooked pumpkin onto plates.  Makes: 6 to 8 servings.


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