Pumpkins, gourds, and winter squash are in at our local farm markets! Pumpkin is one of the most healthful and nutritious vegetables you can eat.
Pumpkin is one of the greatest sources of Vitamin A, containing 246% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of this powerful anti-oxidant. Vitamin A is required by the body for maintenance of skin integrity and mucus membranes, and is also essential for good visual sight. Research studies suggest that natural foods rich in vitamin A can reduce the likelihood of developing lung and oral cavity cancers.
Pumpkin contains a significant amount of potassium and iron, and the oils in the pumpkins’ flesh and seeds provide positive benefits for the urinary system. The seeds are a great source of protein, minerals, vitamins, and omega-3 fatty acids (good for the skin), and pumpkin is one of the foods recommended by dieticians for use in cholesterol controlling and weight reduction programs.
Pumpkin is a good source of B-complex vitamins, minerals such as copper, calcium, potassium and phosphorus, and the seeds are am excellent source of dietary fiber and mono-unsaturated fatty acids (good for heart health). The seeds are also concentrated sources of protein, minerals, vitamins, and the health-promoting amino acid tryptophan, but contain no cholesterol.
Here is a simple, basic pumpkin soup recipe; corn or chopped mushrooms can be sautéed along with the onion for variation, and shredded Swiss cheese and/or croutons and/or sour cream can be added on top of the soup just before serving.
Be sure to purchase a small “pie” pumpkin, and not a large carving pumpkin. If you are truly strapped for time, a can of pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie mix) can be substituted for the real pumpkin, but fresh pumpkin yields much tastier soup.
Fresh pumpkin soup
- 1 whole pie pumpkin (NOT a jack o’lantern pumpkin)
- 2 onions, diced
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
- Salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste
- 1 ¾ cups cream
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 or 3 tablespoons brown sugar (optional)
Cut pumpkin into small wedges and remove gooey stuff. Place in large pot of water along with the onions; cook until tender. Meanwhile, saute garlic and set aside.
When pumpkin and onion have cooked, let pumpkin cool, drain, then scoop the pulp off of the rind (rind goes into compost pile).
Mash pumpkin and onion or put into the blender. Add salt, nutmeg, curry powder and pepper to taste and mix well. Slowly pour in cream, and then stir in sugar to taste (if desired. Taste the soup first, before adding any sugar).
Top with cheese and sour cream if you like, and serve!