P is for Pumpkin

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It's that time of year again! The ghouls and goblins will soon be out in full force, and some seasonal vegetables will be decorating our front steps ...and puréed into pies.

But pumpkin deserves a rethink. It's low in cholesterol and sodium and very low in saturated fat, and loaded with vitamins A, C, and E, iron, phosphorus and other minerals, and dietary fiber. As a winter squash it will keep for a long while after its harvested, making it extremely handy.

You can sauté the blossoms in butter and garlic. Use pumpkin where you would used butternut squash—in stir-frys, creamy soups, and baked goods. Cubed, roasted pumpkin is delicious in warm Harvest salads, like lentils with chèvre.

We're going to work this annual staple into some lunches this Fall, committed as we are togetting our veggies in. But because the kids are begging for them, we'll start with the seeds.

We find the best way to prep them is to boil them for ten minutes in salted water before oven toasting. This results in the tastiest, crunchiest seeds that are easier to digest.

 

How to:

1. Scoop seeds from a pumpkin and clean them thoroughly under cold running water, removing all traces of pulp.

2. Set seeds in a saucepan, cover them with cold water, and add a teaspoon of sea salt.

3. Bring saucepan to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for ten minutes.

4. Strain the seeds and dry them on a paper or kitchen towel.

5. Lay them out on a rimmed baking sheet, allowing for very little overlap, and toast the seeds in the oven at 300º for 10 minutes.

6. Transfer the seeds to a bowl and mix them with olive oil and a pinch of sea salt. Increase the oven temperature to 350º.

7. Return the seeds to the baking sheet, and bake for 10 mins.

8. Let the seeds cool before eating—the inner seeds can retain a lot of heat.

These are so tasty all on their own, but if you'd like some flavor and spice suggestions, check out Real Simple's six flavor combinations.

And if you don't eat all of them right out of the oven, make them a part of your family's lunches by toting them in your bento in one of our small lidded containers—or maybe one of the larger ones.

Blog re-posted from Bentology.net

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