By Medicine Hat News on October 23, 2018.
We are well into October with a beautiful fall and Halloween quickly approaching. It’s the time to put out pumpkins decorated with funny, scary or beautiful faces.
Remember if you decorate your pumpkin with markers on the outside or carve them but don’t put a candle inside you can use them to make pumpkin puree and crunchy roasted pumpkin seeds. Just wash the pumpkin thoroughly and then cut it open and scoop out all the seeds and fibrous material inside. You then wash the seeds thoroughly and toss them in a tablespoon of olive oil and spread them on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with a bit of seasoning salt or dry ranch dressing and bake them at 300 F for 40-50 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes while baking. If you want them crisper you can bake longer but be careful to watch them so they don’t burn.
You can eat the whole seed or crack them open like a sunflower seed and just eat the centre.
To make pumpkin puree, cut the washed pumpkin into uniform pieces and put them on a baking sheet shell side up with about 1 cup of water. Cover with tin foil. Put them in an oven preheated to 325 F and bake about 1 hour or until inside is soft. Scrape pumpkin out of shell and beat with beater or pulse in food processor or blender until smooth. If it seems too dry add a bit of water at a time until smooth but not watery, like texture of pudding. Freeze in 1 or 2 cup amounts in containers or zippered bags.
Pumpkin seeds are rich in zinc which is a nutrient that is important for many functions in the body. There are more than 300 enzymes in the body that require zinc to function normally. It’s important for:
– good skin health
– immune and digestive function
– Increased rate of healing for wounds and acne
– better metabolism
– prevents prostrate disorders
– helps with eczema
– improves eye health as well as reproductive health
– prevents certain cancers.
All in all this is a very important and powerful mineral needed in our body. Pumpkin seeds are a fun and tasty snack to help bump up your zinc intake.
Here is a delicious recipe to help you enjoy your pumpkin puree. It’s sure to be a fall family favourite!
PS. I forgot to take a photo right after I made it and by the time I remembered a few hours later this is all that was left.
Joanne Smith is a registered dietitian.
Pumpkin Pecan Cheesecake
2 1/2 cups flour
5 level tsp pumpkin pie spice (ingredients below)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup soft butter
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup 2% Greek yogurt
1 large egg, beaten
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups pumpkin puree
8 oz cream cheese
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 cup pecan halves
Pumpkin Pie Spice:
2 Tbsp cinnamon
2 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp ginger
1 1/2 tsp Allspice
1. In a medium size bowl mix together flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt. Set aside
2. If possible use a stand mixer with a paddle attachment and beat butter with sugars until fluffy. Scraping sides down a couple times.
3. While butter is beating, preheat oven to 350 F with rack in the centre of the oven. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray.
4. Add yogurt, egg, vanilla and pumpkin puree to butter/sugar mixture. Beat until well combined.
5. On low speed add flour mixture and beat until just combined scraping bowl a few times.
6. To make second layer use a clean bowl and beat cream cheese until fluffy then add sugar, cinnamon and egg and beat until well combined.
7. Pour pumpkin batter into springform pan and spread evenly.
Top with second layer and spread evenly. Place pecan halves evenly over top.
8. Bake 60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean.
9. Let cool completely before transferring to serving plate.
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