October is the time for colorful leaves, Halloween and pumpkins. We traditionally associate the big orange fruit with jack-o’-lanterns and pie, but I believe it’s time for pumpkins to take their rightful place on the table.
1/2 cup Almonds or Walnuts, soaked then dried and chopped
1 cup Wild Rice, sprouted
1/4 cup Celery, finely chopped
1/4 cup Onion, finely chopped
1 Tbs. Turmeric
1 tsp. Himalayan Crystal Salt or natural sea salt
4 tsp. fresh Lemon juice
1/2 tsp. Lemon zest (peel)
1 tsp. Parsley
1/4 tsp. Curry
Pepper to taste
2 cups Pumpkin, finely chopped
Soak and dry the nuts (By soaking the notes you have released the enzyme inhibitor, which make the nuts more nutritional and digestible. Drying gives it the correct texture and keeps the stuffing from being too mushy.)
Sprout the wild rice. Wild Rice sprouts when you soak it in water for three days, making sure that the water is changed every day. It is perfectly sprouted when it can be chewed or has an al dente texture. Sometimes black wild rice will split when it’s sprouted and show the white insides.
Cut and prepare the vegetables. In a large bowl combine the rice, nuts and vegetables. Enjoy!
Finely chop the pumpkin and roast in the oven. Cook the rice is directed on the package. Prepare and cut the vegetables and place in a bowl with the rice and nuts.
Pumpkins are so versatile they can make everything from soup to pie. Let’s take a look at this marvelous winter squash.
Pumpkins were thought to have originated in North America. Evidence of related plants has been found in Mexico that dated back to 7000 to 5500 B.C. The pumpkin was a staple in the diets of Native Americans and European colonists.
One of the earliest forms of pumpkin pie was invented by the colonists. They would remove the seeds and then add milk, spice and honey, and then bake the stuffed pumpkin in hot ashes.
There are many different varieties of pumpkins
Pie or sugar pumpkins are sweet and have a smooth texture when mixed in recipes. These are usually smaller than the ones that are used for jack-o’-lanterns, and usually only weigh two to five pounds. Some common names these our Baby Bear, Sugar Treat and Winter Luxury.
The most commonly seen pumpkins are used mostly for jack-o’-lanterns. They are also edible. While they aren’t ideal, they will work in recipes if you cannot find sugar pumpkins. They have a tendency to be larger and consequently have a more course texture than the smaller ones. Typical jack-o’-lanterns pumpkin names are Autumn Gold, Young’s Beauty, and Connecticut Field.
I haven’t talked about two other types of pumpkins yet. The miniatures include Jack-Be-Little and Munchkin. Giant pumpkins are often over 50 pounds, and the largest on record was 1,140 pounds. These pumpkins have a very coarse texture and are known by the names Atlantic Giant and Mammoth Gold.
When comes to picking a good pumpkins, pick one that’s heavier than it looks and with skin that is smooth, free of cracks and soft spots. Just a side note – if you cut the pumpkin and the skin is really thin it means the pumpkin was harvested too early.
Pumpkins should be kept in a cool dry place
Pumpkins are part of the winter squash family. When it’s stored, winter squash has more carotene, which leads to a higher vitamin value than a freshly picked squash. If pumpkins are stored correctly they will last throughout the winter. I personally have had pumpkins harvested in October and they were still good and ready to eat in January.
Pumpkin seeds have 29 percent protein content, and they are good source of iron, zinc, B complex vitamins, amino fatty acids and calcium.
Pumpkins are not just for eating. They have traditionally been used by Native Americans as a topical cream to sooth abscesses, boils, bruises, burns and sprains. They were also once used as a remedy for snakebites.
Pumpkins have anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce the formation of calcium oxalate, the crystals that can contribute to bladder or kidney stones. Filipinos have used the pumpkin stem sap for earaches.
I believe pumpkin should be used both topically and in your diet. In fact I love the pumpkin so much I wrote a book called “Pumpkins Do Grow on Trees: more than just pumpkin pie recipes.”
For more tips about living a balanced life, or to learn more about Nadhirrah’s books, visit Summer Bear at www.summerbear.org.