Growing up, pumpkin was not on the menu in our home.
The only time I remember encountering pumpkins was around Halloween when we
carved jack-o-lanterns for holiday decorations.
We didn’t eat the flesh, but at least we saved the seeds, salted and roasted them.
Then we happily gobbled the seeds as snacks.
Now that I am older, wiser and enjoying a greatly-expanded palate, I know better.
And how glad I am.
Pumpkin is one of the most popular field crops cultivated around the world–enjoyed
for both it’s fruit and seeds.
For me, one of the great pleasures of the fall is going to the farmer’s market and taking in
the splendor of pumpkins and more pumpkins in various shapes, colors and sizes.
I can never resist picking a few of my favorites and bringing them home to bring the beauty
of the season indoors.
Varying greatly in shape, size and colors–giant pumpkins can range in weight from 4 pounds
to more than 25 pounds.
While golden-nugget pumpkins are smaller and flat–with sweet, creamy, orange-colored flesh.
Although we are most familiar with the popular orange or yellow colored pumpkins, some
varieties are dark to pale green, brown, white, red and gray.
Health Benefits of Pumpkins
Suffice it to say, there’s a lot more to pumpkins than Halloween.
They provide vital antioxidants, fatty acids, vitamins and minerals.
*rich in dietary fiber, anti-oxidants, minerals, vitamins.
*a storehouse of vitamin-A, a natural antioxidant essential for good vision. healthy
skin and mucus membranes, and protection against lung and oral cavity cancers.
*an excellent source of many natural poly-phenolic flavonoid compounds such as a, ß carotenes,
cryptoxanthin, lutein and zea-xanthin which convert into vitamin A inside the body.
* a good source of B-complex group of vitamins like folates, niacin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine),
thiamin and pantothenic acid.
* a rich source of minerals like copper, calcium, potassium and phosphorus.
Pumpkin seeds are:
*excellent sources of dietary fiber and mono-unsaturated fatty acids, which are good for
*concentrated sources of protein and beneficial vitamins and minerals.
It’s no surprise that this filling, low calorie vegetable is one of the foods recommended by dieticians
in weight reduction or cholesterol-controlling programs.
Try this simple, healthy soup to enjoy the taste as well as the health benefits of pumpkin.
Roasted Harvest Pumpkin Soup
2 sugar pumpkins or kabocha squash
2 onions (peeled and quartered)
3 shiitake mushrooms (stemmed, caps wiped clean)
3 garlic cloves (peeled)
1/2 cup coconut oil
2 teaspoons tumeric
Himalayan sea salt
freshly ground pepper
5 cups low sodium vegetable stock (preferably, homemade)
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Cut the pumpkin into small pieces.
Combine the pumpkin, onion, mushrooms, and garlic on a baking sheet.
Add coconut oil and 2 teaspoons sea salt.
Next toss the ingredients to coat.
Then spread out on the tray in a single layer.
Rotate pan and toss the vegetables halfway through.
Roast until pumpkin is tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife.
(About 30 minutes)
Allow these ingredients to cool.
Then remove the skins when cool.
Add the vegetables to a medium saucepan.
Heat over a medium flame.
Pour in 2 cups of the vegetable stock.
Next, add the maple syrup and a pinch of ground ginger.
Puree the vegetables and stock with an immersion blender until smooth.
With the blender running, slowly add the balance of the stock, and puree until smooth.
Bring the soup to a simmer.
Then remove the soup from the heat.
Stir in sea salt and pepper to taste.
A few options:
*Garnish your soup with toasted or roasted pumpkin seeds.
* Add a dash of organic maple syrup.
*Top with a dollop of homemade cashew cream.
*Add pumpkin spices to this basic recipe.
*Sprinkle on dried red pepper flakes for a bit of heat.
This soup is delicious for lunch or dinner.
I like to accompany my soup with a tossed garden salad of seasonal vegetables and
savory flaxseed crackers.
Have you made pumpkin soup? Share your thoughts or favorite ingredients with us.
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