queen of autumn. Check its properties
Pumpkin is primarily a symbol of the holiday of Halloween, but it is also undeniably the queen of our Polish golden autumn. It looks great as an ornament, and also contains a lot of valuable nutrients. It is worth taking advantage of the season and prepare delicious and healthy dishes with a pumpkin in the lead role.
For many people, it may come as a surprise that pumpkin is a fruit in botanical terms. However, it is usually included in vegetables. An interesting fact is that some pumpkins reach an impressive size, and their weight can be up to 200 kg.
There are many varieties of pumpkins. Each of them has slightly different properties. Our native species are gourd, butternut squash and ordinary pumpkin. Pumpkin has light orange thick skin and flesh with not very noticeable taste. In turn, butternut squash has a pear-shaped and light skin. Provencal pumpkin is a French butternut squash variety. It has dark green skin, but its shape is more round and divided into segments.
Hokkaido pumpkin comes from Japan, has an intense dark orange color, and its skin is very susceptible to heat treatment, so you do not have to peel it before cooking or baking. The Lunga di Napoli variety, as the name suggests, comes from Italy. Its shape and color resemble zucchini. You can eat it raw. Pasta pumpkin also has an oblong shape and a yellow-green color. Its pulp under the influence of heat treatment separates into characteristic fibers resembling pasta. Decorative pumpkins are unlikely to be consumed. They have very thick skin and hard flesh.
Pumpkin – nutritional values
The energy value of pumpkin pulp is about 28 kcal per 100 g. In addition, it provides: 1.3 g protein, 7 g carbohydrates, 0.1 g fat and 0.5 g fiber. The orange color of the pumpkin is due to the high content of beta-carotene (426 mg per 100 g). Provitamin A has a very beneficial effect on eyesight and skin, in addition, it is a powerful antioxidant, which is important in the prevention of cancer.
Pumpkin is also a source of vitamins B1, B2, C, E, PP and minerals such as phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, iron and calcium. These elements are primarily important for the proper functioning of muscles, including the heart muscle. People with hypertension should especially eat pumpkins.
Pumpkin seeds are valued for their richness: vitamin E, magnesium, zinc, selenium, phytosterols and unsaturated fatty acids. It is worth introducing them to your menu to support the nervous, cardiovascular and immune systems and to maintain healthy skin, strong hair and nails. Fresh stones contain cucurbitacin. It is a substance that has anti-parasitic properties.
Pumpkin is easily digestible, thanks to which it can be added to the menu even for children several months old. In addition, it is great for people during recovery, as well as digestive problems. Thanks to the fiber content, it regulates bowel function. Its only downside is the high glycemic index (IG = 75), which diabetics should pay attention to.
Pumpkin – use in the kitchen
The big advantage of pumpkin is its versatile use. It is suitable for: baking, cooking, frying and pickling. You can also freeze it easily. Its flesh easily blends with other flavors, thanks to which it blends well with both salty and sweet dishes.
You can conjure up e.g. soups, pies, cakes, casseroles, potato dumplings, purees, pastes, you can add it to a smoothie, and even make a pumpkin latte. We are limited only by imagination.
Pumpkin and paprika cream soup
- 600 g pumpkin pulp
- large red pepper
- 1/2 sweet potato
- clove of garlic
- 750 ml vegetable stock
- salt, colored pepper, nutmeg, turmeric, chili
- 2 tablespoons of clarified butter
Wash the pumpkin and pepper, cross-section and remove the seed nests. Transfer them to a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake at 180 degrees for about 20 minutes. Cool the roasted vegetables and cut them into pieces. Chop the onion and garlic. Peel the sweet potato, cut into cubes. Transfer all vegetables to a pan and fry in clarified butter for a few minutes. Then pour the whole vegetable broth, add spices and cook until the vegetables are soft – about 15-20 minutes. Blend the soup with a blender until a uniform consistency is obtained.
Gluten-free pumpkin muffins
- 150 g Hokkaido pumpkin puree
- 50 g rice flour
- 50 g corn flour
- 20 g buckwheat flour
- a teaspoon of gluten-free baking powder
- 1/3 teaspoon baking soda
- a teaspoon of cinnamon
- 1/3 cup erythritol
- 3 chicken eggs
- 100 ml coconut oil
- 50 ml coconut milk
- 1/2 apple
Melt coconut oil in a saucepan and cool. Eggs beat with erythritol. Add the pumpkin puree and coconut milk and mix. Then add flour, baking powder, soda and cinnamon. Add some oil while stirring constantly. Finally, add the grated apple with large holes. Mix again. Transfer the dough into curlers or muffins to greased muffins. Put the whole thing in the preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes at 180 degrees.